The Japan News by The Yomiuri Shimbun
Yanagita earns MVP as Pacific sweeps series
Another big blast helped the Paci c League sweep the two-game All-Star series against the Central League on July 27.
Fukuoka So Bank Hawks slugger Yuki Yanagita belted a solo home run to break up a tie in the sixth inning, leading to the 2-1 win in Nippon Professional Baseball’s rst All-Star game in 10 years at Matsuyama Botchan Stadium in Ehime Prefecture. Yanagita was named the MVP of this game.
e home run by Yanagita, who prior to the game lost in the nal of the home run derby to Brandon Laird of the Chiba Lotte Marines, was his second in an All-Star game. His rst came in 2014. In years to come, what will have people talking about this game likely will be another feat recorded by the PL’s starting
pitcher, Roki Sasaki of the Marines.
In the rst inning, Sasaki’s fourth pitch to Adam Walker of the Yomiuri Giants hit 162 kph on the radar gun to tie Shohei Ohtani’s All-Star game mark for a Japanese pitcher, set in 2014 by the superstar when he played for the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters.
e battery of Sasaki and 18-year-old Lotte teammate Ko Matsukawa, who paired up in a perfect game earlier this season, formed a dream team for fans as the two challenged the CL hitters by going right at them.
But feeding the Central side a diet lled with fastballs didn’t get Sasaki the result he wanted. e CL took the lead a er loading the bases with three singles in a row o Sasaki before scoring its lone run on a sacri ce y by Teruaki Sato of the Hanshin Tigers.
“There’s no way you can get away with throwing only fastballs,” Sasaki said with a wry smile, before joking: “I wanted to throw more breaking pitches, but I didn’t get any signs for them. So it’s Matsukawa’s fault that I gave up the hits.” (July 29)