At 74 years of age, Katsuya Nomura renewed his record as being the oldest manager in the NPB to win a game. That's still a bit a ways from Connie Mack, who went 52-102 at the age of 87, but still equally impressive.
Prior to winning his first game since turning 74 on June 29th, the Eagles went through a bit of a rough stretch, losing 7 straight games.
"It was a very, very long tunnel," said Nomura. "I had a bad feeling about things and I ended up being right. Setting a Japanese record is really tough work."
Apparently, things were getting so bad for Nomura that he began to worry that his team might actually challenge the record for most consecutive losses (18) set by the Chiba Lotte Marines in 1998. What made things even worse was how the team was finding ways to lose.
July 2: against the Nippon Ham Fighters, the Eagles scored 2 runs in the top of the 8th to take a 3-2 lead. But the bullpen blew the lead and the Eagles ended up losing the game 6-3.
July 3: against the Seibu Lions, the Eagles were holding onto a 2-0 lead going into the top of the 8th and Masahiro Tanaka self-imploded, giving up 4 earned runs. The Eagles lost this game by a score of 11-2.
July 5: against the Seibu Lions, the Eagles had a 6-3 lead going into the top of the 8th when the bullpen coughed up 4 runs with the help of four walks (!), giving the Lions a 7-6 victory.
July 8: against the Chiba Lotte Marines, the Eagles had a 3-1 lead going into the top of the 8th when the bullpen (surprise, surprise) blew the lead by giving up an IBB, 2 walks, and 3 doubles in the inning. The Marines won the game 7-5.
But after Thursday night's win, Nomura appeared to in better spirits.
"We haven't won a lot of games, so there must be a few of them in storage for us," said Nomura. "I think they'll slowly come out for us from here on out."