Returning to bat No. 4 after ‘1378 days’…Mr. ‘Triple Three’ paves way for win with multiple hits

Tetsuto Yamada (31) of the Yakult Swallows of Nippon Professional Baseball made his first appearance as a No. 4 hitter in four years and contributed to his team’s victory with a multi-hit performance.

Yamada batted fourth and started at second base against the Hiroshima Toyo Carp at Jingu Stadium in Tokyo, Japan, on Jan. 1.

Yamada took over the No. 4 spot after Munetaka Murakami, 23, who won three batting titles including home run champion last year, withdrew from the starting lineup due to a sore left knee.

It was the first time in 1378 days that Yamada has batted fourth. The last time he batted fourth was on September 22, 2019, against Yomiuri. “I’ve batted No. 4 before, so I didn’t make a big deal about it,” Yamada said of his first time batting No. 4 in four years.메이저사이트

Yakult got on the board in the first inning when top hitter Hidetaka Namiki led off with a single to left. Two batters later, Yamada singled to left to put runners on first and third. Santana, No. 5, blasted a three-run home run (his eighth of the season) over the center field fence. 3-0 lead.

Yamada led off the seventh with another single to left, but the next three batters were all retired. He went 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored.

Murakami, who was out of the starting lineup, came in to pinch-hit with one out in the eighth and doubled to right. Yakult held on to the three runs they scored in the first inning to win 3-2.

“I was better in practice, but in the game I swung the bat according to my image,” Yamada said in a postgame interview.

Yamada, who made his first-team debut in 2012, holds the record for most hits in a season by a Japanese right fielder with 193 in 2014. In 2015, he won both the home run and stolen base titles, finishing with a .329 batting average (.383), 38 home runs and 34 stolen bases, the ninth “triple triple” in Nippon Professional Baseball.

In 2016, he recorded his second consecutive “triple triple” with a .329 batting average, 38 home runs and 30 stolen bases. In 2018, he posted his third triple triple (.315-34 home runs-33 doubles), making him the only player in Nippon Professional Baseball with three triple triples.

In 55 games this season, Yamada is batting 23-for-49 (206 RBI) with nine home runs, 25 RBI and a .722 OPS.

Yakult, meanwhile, are last in the Central League with a record of 27-2-2 and 42 losses despite the win. They are 0.5 games behind fifth-place Junichi.

Yakult head coach Shingo Takatsu said, “There are only three months left in the season, but we are not yet halfway through the season. We want to make July a good month, and I’m hopeful that it will be.”

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