Veteran pitcher of ‘8.4 billion → 3.5 billion’ 巨, the battery of the soul in 657 days…7 scoreless innings, “Victory Cooperation.”

Yomiuri Giants pitcher Tomoyuki Sugano (34) collaborated with his best friend for the first time in 657 days to win without allowing a point.

Sugano took the mound as the starting pitcher in a game against the Chunichi Dragons at the Banterin Dome in Nagoya, Japan on Sunday. The catcher was Seiji Kobayashi, 34, his best friend.

Sugano joined Yomiuri with the first pick in the 2012 draft, and Kobayashi joined with the first pick in 2013. His first appearance as a starting battery in 657 days since Kobayashi, who won the 2017 best battery award, against Chunichi on June 16, 2022.

Sugano pitched 90 pitches in seven innings and won the game with four hits, one walk and three strikeouts. Yomiuri won 2-0.

He walked the leadoff hitter in the first inning, and the sacrifice bunt made the batter to the second base with one out. Takahashi and Nakada were blocked without losing a point by hitting outfield flies. They threw three outs in a row in the second and third innings.

He overcame the crisis by hitting consecutive double plays in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. He allowed a hit with one out in the fourth inning, but handled the fourth batter, Nakada, with a double play by the third baseman 업소알바. The fifth inning also ended with a double play by the second baseman with one out and a runner on the first base. The sixth inning allowed a hit by a leadoff hitter, but ended the inning with a double out by the second baseman. He got a hit with two outs, but grounded out to the pitcher. He ended the seventh inning without allowing a run, with a fly ball, a foul fly, and a strikeout.

Sugano had a walk at his first at-bat in the third inning, and reached base. Due to a hit by a follow-up batter, he had no outs and runners on the first and second bases, and created a chance with one out and runners on the second and third bases. When he grounded out to shortstop, Sugano, a third baseman, scored the first point. He finally got the finishing run.

According to Japanese media, Sugano said in an interview after the game, “It was a little hard because it was my first appearance, but I tried to control it somehow with no points. The team was losing consecutive games, so I threw desperately to break the losing streak somehow.” “I got help from my teammates’ good defense, and catcher Kobayashi gave me a good ball mix and lead,” he said.

Sugano attempted to enter the U.S. through posting after winning 14 games and losing 2 with a 1.97 ERA in 20 games in 2020. However, he gave up because he was not offered a satisfactory amount of money, and chose to stay in the Yomiuri Giants. Ahead of the 2021 season, Sugano signed a contract with the Yomiuri Giants for an annual salary of 800 million yen (about 8.4 billion won at the time). It was the highest amount in Japanese pro baseball history.

However, he left the game due to injury ahead of the opening game in 2021, and was sluggish with 6 wins and 7 losses with a 3.19 ERA in 19 games. In 2022, he recorded double-digit wins with 10 wins and 7 losses with a 3.12 ERA in 23 games, but was sluggish with four wins and 8 losses with a 3.36 ERA in 14 games last year. It was his lowest personal win since his debut in 2013. His salary has been gradually cut, going from 500 million yen (about 4.4 billion won) in 2023 to 400 million yen (about 3.5 billion won) this year.

Sugano won three wins (2017, 2018, 2020), four ERAs (2014, 2016-2018), two strikeouts (2016, 2018) and one win rate (2020).

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