2.1 innings, 7 hits, 5 runs 7 innings, 7 Ks, 1 run, Tanaka looked like a different pitcher, but… ‘198 wins’ in US-Japan history is next.

It was like watching a different Tanaka.

메이저사이트Rakuten Eagles right-hander Masahiro Tanaka (35) pitched seven innings of one-run ball. He started against the Nippon Ham Fighters at Escon Field in Kitahiroshima, Hokkaido, on Sept. 25 and gave up three hits and struck out seven without issuing a walk. Threw 90 pitches.

Replaced in the eighth inning with the score tied 1-1. Left without a win or loss. Hasn’t won in one month and five games since a seven-run victory over the SoftBank Hawks on Aug. 26.

Tanaka has 119 wins with Rakuten and 78 with the New York Yankees in Major League Baseball. He has 197 career wins in Japan and the United States. With three more wins, he’ll reach 200, but he’s been winless for five games.

Missing a win, but hopeful.

Tanaka has struggled in his last two games. On Sept. 9 against SoftBank, he was pulled after giving up five runs in six innings. He pitched a scoreless sixth inning before giving up five runs in the seventh without recording a single out. He gave up four hits, including three doubles.

On Sept. 19 against the Orix Buffaloes, he didn’t make it out of the third inning. He gave up five runs in 2 1/3 innings. He gave up seven hits with three walks and four strikeouts and suffered his 10th loss of the season. It was his second straight year of double-digit losses after losing 12 last year.

It started well.

They retired batters 1-6 in succession in the first and second innings. In the first inning, they got Jusei Mannami to ground out to third base, Yuya Genji to fly out to shortstop, and Kotaro Kiyomiya to fly out to right field.

In the second, he got #4 Ariel Martinez to ground out to shortstop, #5 Ko Matsumoto to strike out swinging, and #6 Kosuke Kato to fly out to right field.

After giving up a leadoff single to No. 7 Yuki Nomura in the third, he retired the next three batters, 8-1. In the fourth, he shut down the Nihon Ham center field lineup. He got Genji to ground out to shortstop and struck out Kiyomiya at second and Martinez at third.

In the bottom of the fifth, he gave up a double to Nomura in center field, but struck out the next batter to end the inning.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, the 1-0 lead was broken. The leadoff batter, No. 9 Yuji Tamiya, took a fastball from Tanaka for a home run. The 144-kilometer-per-hour fastball was driven into the middle of the strike zone. The ball bounced off the stands and was ruled a home run after video review.

Tanaka (left) and Sasaki represented the Pacific League in the All-Star Game side by side last July. Photo credit: Rakuten Eagles SNS
Despite giving up the run, Tanaka was unfazed and retired the next three batters. After throwing 77 pitches in the sixth inning, Tanaka came back in the seventh and retired the next three batters in order from 4-6.

Tied 1-1 in the top of the ninth, the Rakuten bats exploded. The first 12 batters scored eight runs on six hits and three four-pitchers to win 9-1. Rakuten dropped Chiba Lotte Marines and moved into third place.

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