TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Yoshinobu Yamamoto struck out 15 over eight innings to pitch the Pacific League's Orix Buffaloes to a 4-0 interleague win over the Central League's Hiroshima Carp on Friday.
Yamamoto (6-5) retired the first 21 batters he faced, and did not allow a base runner until after the Buffaloes broke up a scoreless, hitless pitchers' duel with a three-run seventh inning.
The Buffaloes ace surrendered back-to-back singles to open the top of the eighth but responded by striking out the last three batters he faced.
"I felt I was pitching really well, and I'd been thinking that even if runners did get on I'd just put it behind me, move on and do my best to keep them from scoring," said Yamamoto, who admitted the thought of throwing a perfect game crossed his mind.
"Because I was in such good form, I was thinking about that from about the third inning."
Carp rookie Haruki Omichi matched Yamamoto for five innings. Despite walking two of the first three batters he faced, he did not allow another base runner, while striking out five. Robert Corniel retired all three batters he faced in the sixth, before the Buffaloes got to rookie reliever Daisuke Moriura (2-2) in the seventh.
Masataka Yoshida walked, and Takahiro Okada recorded the game's first hit with a single. Adam Jones walked to load the bases with one out off Ren Nakata, and Yutaro Sugimoto singled in two runs to break the ice. Shuhei Fukuda completed the rally by drawing a bases-loaded walk.
Yoshida doubled and Okada singled to open the Buffaloes' eighth and set up an unearned run.
The win lifted the Buffaloes into the lead in Nippon Professional Baseball's interleague standings.
At Sendai's Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi, Jefry Marte brought the CL's Hanshin Tigers from behind with a two-run home run, his 12th, and Robert Suarez earned his Japan-best 20th save in a 3-2 win against the Rakuten Eagles in a clash between league leaders.
At Sapporo Dome, Tyler Austin hit a two-run first-inning home run, his 13th, and Haruhiro Hamaguchi (4-4) threw a four-hitter as the DeNA BayStars beat the Nippon Ham Fighters 4-0.
At MetLife Dome, 2020 Sawamura Award winner Yudai Ono (3-4) held the Seibu Lions to three runs over seven innings and the Chunichi Dragons held on to a 6-5 victory.
At Chiba's Zozo Marine Stadium, Cristopher Mercedes (2-0) allowed a run over seven innings and Kazuma Okamoto hit his 17th home run for the Yomiuri Giants in a 5-1 win over the Lotte Marines.
At Fukuoka's PayPay Dome, Munetaka Murakami hit his Japan-best 19th home run, 41-year-old Masanori Ishikawa (2-1) worked six innings and four relievers completed the Yakult Swallows' 1-0 shutout of the SoftBank Hawks.