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[NPB NOTEBOOK] Ryuhei Matsuyama Comes Through in the Clutch for Hiroshima Carp

A mainstay for the Hiroshima Carp in a pro career that began in 2008, the fan favorite delivered a go-ahead double in a comeback win over the Swallows.



Hiroshima Carp
Hiroshima Carp pinch hitter Ryuhei Matsuyama slaps a double in the eighth inning against the visiting Tokyo Yakult Swallows on April 4, 2024, at Mazda Zoom Zoom Stadium. (©SANKEI)

Read the full story on SportsLook - [NPB NOTEBOOK] Ryuhei Matsuyama Comes Through in the Clutch for the Hiroshima Carp

It's still early in the 2024 NPB season but already there have been plenty of thrills. On Thursday, April 4, the Hiroshima Carp staged a dramatic comeback against the Tokyo Yakult Swallows at Mazda Zoom Zoom Stadium.

With the Swallows leading 3-0 after six innings, the hometown Carp scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh to chase starter Keiji Takahashi.

But the real drama came in the bottom of the eighth.

Takashi Uemoto hit a single to right off Yakult reliever Noboru Shimizu that tied the game 3-3.

With two out and runners at first and third, veteran pinch hitter Ryuhei Matsuyama came off the bench and connected for a double to right that scored two more runs to give the Carp a 5-3 lead.

Masaya Yano then plated another run to complete the thrilling 6-3 comeback.


Shota Nakazaki worked a scoreless eighth for the win and Ryoji Kuribayashi retired the side in the ninth for the save to send the fans home happy.

Hiroshima improved to three wins and two losses and was just a half game behind the front-running Yokohama DeNA BayStars in the Central League standings (as of April 4).

The best part of Thursday's win was seeing 38-year-old veteran Matsuyama come through with a big clutch hit. Few things in baseball are as satisfying for a manager than to see a pinch hitter come through in a situation like that.

Hiroshima Carp
Ryuhei Matsuyama greets fans after the Hiroshima Carp's victory over the Tokyo Yakult Swallows on April 4 at Mazda Zoom Zoom Stadium. (©SANKEI)

Ryuhei Matsuyama: a Hiroshima Carp Fan Favorite

Matsuyama, a native of Soo City, Kagoshima, has spent his entire 15-year career with Hiroshima. With his trademark tinted goggles, he's a fan favorite. 

The left-handed batter played outfield for the Carp but is used now primarily as a pinch-hitter. His best season was in 2017 when he hit 14 homers and had 77 RBIs, both career highs.

Thursday's clutch hit was his first in five at-bats this season and allowed the Carp to win their third straight game after losing the first two of the season to the BayStars.

"I wasn't able to produce in my previous at-bats so I was very happy to come through and contribute to the win," said Matsuyama. "It was a total team effort tonight."

It's always great to see the veterans come through in big situations like that and, in an age where players jump from team to team, it's refreshing to see a player spend his entire career with one team.


Continue reading the full story on SportsLook.


Author: Jim Armstrong

The author is a longtime journalist who has covered sports in Japan for over 25 years. You can find his articles on SportsLook.