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Dragons lefty Yamamoto sets NPB record for oldest winning pitcher at age 49

Kyodo

Forty-nine-year-old Masahiro Yamamoto became Japanese baseball’s oldest winning pitcher with five scoreless innings in the Chunichi Dragons’ 6-0 victory over the Hanshin Tigers on Friday.

At 49 years, 25 days, Yamamoto (1-0) won his first and only start of the season at Nagoya Dome, surpassing the old mark of 48 years, 4 months set by the Hankyu Braves’ Shinji Hamazaki in 1950.

The lefty threw 90 pitches, giving up five hits and a walk. He struck out two.

In the major leagues, Jamie Moyer became the oldest pitcher to win a game in 2012 at 49 years, 150 days.

“I just wanted to keep us in the game,” said Yamamoto, who has spent his whole career with the Dragons who drafted him out of high school in 1984.

“I was calm because I’ve been out there so many times. It hasn’t been easy getting here, but I feel blessed as a ballplayer to be in this position. But this isn’t the end. I’ll keep at it.”

Chunichi gave Yamamoto his first win since Aug. 28, 2013, with two runs each in the fourth, sixth and seventh, and with Atsushi Fujii driving in three of them.

Dragons skipper Motonobu Tanishige hailed the feat.

“He’s 49 and threw 90 pitches without giving up a run so that’s pretty amazing,” Tanishige said. “He’s one of a kind in Japanese baseball history.”

Swallows 4, Giants 1

At Jingu Stadium, Tokyo Yakult’s Yuki Shichijo (1-0) pitched his first career complete game for his first win in two years, holding first-place Yomiuri to one earned run on five hits and a pair of walks.

Carp 8, BayStars 0

At Yokohama Stadium, Hiroshima halted a three-game skid as Deunte Heath (2-0) earned his second win of the season behind seven strikeouts in seven shutout innings against hapless Yokohama.

PACIFIC LEAGUE

Fighters 7, Buffaloes 3

At Kobe’s Hotto Motto Field, Hokkaido Nippon Ham’s sophomore wonder Shohei Otani hit his ninth homer of the year in the second inning against Orix, moving within one shot of achieving the rare feat of reaching double digits in wins and home runs in the same season.

Babe Ruth won 13 games and hit 11 homers for the Boston Red Sox in 1918.

Hawks 2, Lions 1

At Fukuoka’s Yafuoku Dome, Yuya Iida (2-4) allowed Seibu one earned run on four hits and two walks, striking out nine in seven innings as Fukuoka Softbank won its third straight.

Marines 5, Eagles 2

At Chiba’s QVC Marine Field, Tatsuhiro Tamura’s tiebreaking, two-out triple in the sixth helped Chiba Lotte stop Tohoku Rakuten’s winning streak at four.