Matt Murton broke the NPB single season hit record in the 2nd inning with a 2-run single into center off Masato Nakazawa. Murton ultimately finished the night 3-for-5 for a total 213 hits on the year with 2 games left to play.
And I've gone ahead and transcribed Murton's hero interview:
How do you feel right now?
It's a great feeling, there's no doubt about it. Thank God. I want to say thank you to the Tigers' organization. The coaching staff for the opportunity to be out there. My teammates. And of course the fans.
What were you thinking when you stepped into the batter's box in the 2nd inning?
I'll be honest with you, I was feeling it a little bit so it felt nice to kind of get it over with. It was a spot with the bases loaded. I think that helped me a little bit. It allowed me to go out there and just compete and try to help my team there, get some RBIs. So, it was nice to get it finished.
And the 211 hits surpasses Ichiro, Japan's big star that crossed the ocean, what do you think about that?
It's an honor. I have a lot of respect for this league. I'm just so thankful for the opportunity. The one difference is he did it in 130 games. You know he's one of the best player's in baseball. It is what it is. I'm just so thankful for the opportunity.
As the crowd cheers for you... But after hitting 211, you were now hitting as the record-holder. I thought it might be a battle against yourself from there, but you collected hits in your fourth and sixth at bats and ended up with a modasho.
God gave me a piece and there was a little bit of a relief when I had finally got there. But I think the other thing that helps is we have a team, a great team, a team that has a chance to win and you just keep competing, keep competing and we have two more games we have to win and we want to finish in second.
About the two games remaining, the blue seats here are covered with the Tigers' colors. If you win both games and finish in second, it means the Climax Series will take place at Koshien Stadium.
Tigers fans have been unbelievable. They've been so good to me. I know all of my teammates. Our goal is to finish in second because there's no where better to play than Koshien Stadium.
And finally, a comment for the fans.
Kamisama-wa watashi-no chikara-desu. Thank you for all your support. I really appreciate it. Thank you.
In other 200-hit season news:
Norichika Aoki (YAK) went 1-for-4 and now has 205 hits on the year. That breaks Alex Ramirez's franchise record of 204 hits set in 2007.