Toshiya Sugiuchi became the seventy-fifth player in NPB history to toss a no-hitter tonight with his 2-0 victory over the Rakuten Eagles. Sugiuchi was actually just one out away from a perfect game when he walked pinch-hitter Toshiya Nakashima in the top of the 9th inning.
According to Daily Sports, Sugiuchi is the eighth Yomiuri pitcher to record a no-hitter since the start of the two league format and first Yomiuri pitcher to record a no-hitter since Hiromi Makihara tossed a perfect game on May 18, 1994. This was also the fifty-third double-digit strikeout game of his career, which moved him past Yu Darvish into sole possession of fifth on the All-time list.
Sponichi adds that Sugiuchi is just the second lefty in franchise history, going back to the one league era, to toss a no-hitter. The other: Hiroshi Nakao on November 3, 1939 and July 16, 1941. He is also just the third player to record a no-hitter in their first year with a new team. The other two: Juzo Sanada on May 7, 1952 and Hajime Kato on April 18, 1976.
Additionally, this was the forty-fourth time in NPB history that a game ended one batter away from a perfect game and the fourteenth time a game ended as a no-hitter instead of a perfect game because a runner reached on a walk or error. Sugiuchi is the only starter that finished with a no-hitter after getting to within one out of a perfect game. The previous record, set by Naoki Takahashi on June 16, 1973 and Terry Bross on September 9, 1995, was the 8th inning with one out.
Nikkan Sports mentions that Sugiuchi is the only player to record a no-hitter as a high school player at Koshien (Summer, August 11, 1998, gave up a walk in the 6th with two out and racked up sixteen strikeouts) and after turning pro.
Twenty-eight batters faced, 108 pitches, one walk, fourteen strikeouts. [Box Score]
The Giants will be giving away Sugiuchi orange uniform shaped towels to the first 1,800 fans that make a purchase of 1,000 yen or more at the official team store at Tokyo Solamachi between May 31 and June 2. They will also be handing out Sugiuchi Player Programs (the same ones that were distributed on Sugiuchi Day at Tokyo Dome on May 28) to the first 1,800 fans that visit the store.
Sanspo has posted parts of Sugiuchi's post-game press conference:
On tossing a no-hitter.
I can not believe. I am very happy.
On being one out away [from a perfect game] and issuing a walk.
I got two strikes on the batter and went for the strikeout. As I faced batter, my mindset was to walk him before giving up a hit. And then I gave up the walk. I thought it would be better to throw a good pitch instead of just tossing it down the middle. I am just very happy that the team won.
What was good about your game tonight?
My fastball and slider were good. I used that as a foundation. [Shinnosuke] Abe also probably knew that and did a good job calling the game.
What did you feel during the game?
I knew that I had not given up any hits or walks and just continued to pitch aggressively.
Your are the seventy-fifth player to record a no-hitter.
It is a great honor. We dropped our last game and I did not want to make it two losses in a row. It got easier once Yoshinobu [Takahashi] hit the home run [in the 7th inning]. I was able to ride the momentum from that.
Sponichi has also posted parts of the press conference:
When did you start thinking about the zero hits?
I knew from the 1st inning. But I thought about it more as we got deeper into the game.
On facing [Masahiro] Tanaka.
I had only won one game against him. I just wanted to help the team get a win. I can not believe things turned out like this.
What was good about your game?
My fastball and slider were working. [Shinnosuke] Abe also called a good game.
On missing out on a perfect game with just one out remaining.
It obviously would have been great to get it, but winning is more important. And that it was against [Tanaka]. Even if I had given up a hit, I just wanted to win. I would not have been disappointed.
On wearing the number eighteen.
I do not think it will get any easier wearing this number. Throwing a no-hitter was never a goal of mine. Doing well over the course of the season and being recognized for that is really important. I am happy that I helped the team move six games above 500.
Nikkan Sports posted the press conference (the above were actually taken from the hero interview), but it's a bit long so I'll just provide the link to it for those that are interested.