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[NPB NOTEBOOK] Tigers Rookie Shoki Murakami is Denied a Shot at a Perfect Game

Tigers manager Akinobu Okada pulled Shoki Murakami six outs shy of perfection against the Giants. Okada said that he struggled with the decision.



Shoki Murakami
Hanshin Tigers starter Shoki Murakami pitches against the Yomiuri Giants on April 12 at Tokyo Dome. (ⒸSANKEI)

Read the full story on SportsLook - [NPB NOTEBOOK] Tigers Rookie Shoki Murakami is Denied a Shot at a Perfect Game

In a game against the Yomiuri Giants on Wednesday, April 12 at Tokyo Dome, Hanshin Tigers starter Shoki Murakami was working on a perfect game through seven innings.

That said, the way Japanese managers handle their pitchers has always been something of a mystery to people who grew up watching baseball in North America.

The rookie right-hander struck out five and retired all 21 batters he faced in his first start of the season. He threw 84 pitches.

To the surprise of many in the crowd of 35,574 at Tokyo Dome and millions more watching on TV, he was taken out for a pinch hitter with the Tigers leading 1-0 in the eighth inning.

Shoki Murakami (ⒸSANKEI)

Hanshin went on to win the game 2-1 and manager Akinobu Okada admitted after the game he struggled with the decision to take out his starter and deny him a possible perfect game.

"It was the first time I've ever been faced with taking out a pitcher who was throwing a perfect game," Okada told Kyodo News. "But he's still inexperienced and we have a plan as a team that relies on the guys pitching well behind him."

Yomiuri scored a run in the bottom of the eighth off Daichi Ishii. Suguru Iwazaki and Atsuki Yuasa then came on to nail down the win much to the relief of Okada.

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.

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