The bow has become one of the most familiar sights in Japanese baseball. Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks closer Dennis Sarfate records the final out of a game, brings his right hand up to meet his gloved left hand in front of his chest, and leans forward. When you see it, Sarfate has either converted a save or earned a win.

The saves come more often. On Saturday, Sarfate recorded his 46th of the season, equaling the NPB single-season record first set by the Chunichi Dragons' Hitoki Iwase in 2005 and matched by Hanshin Tigers fireballer Kyuji Fujikawa two years later.

"It's an honor," Sarfate said after matching the record. "I have a lot of respect for Iwase-san and Fujikawa-san. Since I got here, those are the two guys I always watched pitch. It's an absolute honor, and it's an honor to do it here (in Fukuoka)."