There was a simple reason Orix Buffaloes manager Satoshi Nakajima put his complete faith in Yoshinobu Yamamoto with the season on the line and the ace pitcher coming off the worst start of his career.
“He lost the last time out, but I thought there was no way Yoshinobu Yamamoto was going to be beaten two times in a row,” Nakajima said after the Buffaloes’ series-tying 5-1 win over the Hanshin Tigers in Game 6 of the Japan Series on Saturday night. “I put it all on Yoshinobu in this game.”
Yamamoto proved his manager right in one of the most important outings of his career. Yamamoto went the distance on 138 pitches and held the Tigers to a single run. He set a Japan Series record with 14 strikeouts. He overcame a shaky start by allowing only three baserunners — on three singles — after the fourth inning.