Yuya Yanagi threw nine hitless shutout innings before the Chunichi Dragons won a 10th-inning home run derby to defeat the Hiroshima Carp 2-1 in the Central League on Sunday.
Yanagi left after nine innings in a scoreless game, denying him Japanese pro baseball's 99th no-hit regular season shutout. He did not figure in the decision at Vantelin Dome Nagoya, where three home runs decided the game in extra innings.
"It would have been the first no-hit shutout of my life, so honestly didn't think I was going to do it," the 29-year-old right-hander said.
Elite closer Raidel Martinez took over for the Dragons in the 10th and surrendered his first earned run of the season when Shota Dobayashi registered the Carp's first hit, a two-out solo homer.
But the double disappointment of seeing first a no-hitter and then a tie game vanish before their eyes, Dragons fans soon got an ending for the ages.
Takaya Ishikawa hit his 11th home run of the season off Carp closer Takuya Yasaki to open the 10th, and Shingo Usami ended it with the 16th homer of his career.
"At first I thought it hit the top of the wall," said Usami, a mid-season trade acquisition who caught Yanagi's sparkling start.
"I just put down the signs and he threw it. It was all him. He was amazing."
Martinez, who had allowed just two unearned runs in 35 innings this season, improved to 2-1, while Yasaki's record fell to 4-1.
Yanagi struck out five, walked two and hit one while throwing 121 pitches. He joked afterward that his motivation increased after Yuki Okabayashi opened Chunichi's first with a single.
The single, off Carp starter Atsushi Endo, gave Okabayashi a 26-game hit streak, snapping his tie with Hall of Famer Michio Nishizawa for the longest in franchise history.
"Because he got a hit at the start of the game, I wanted to pitch well so we could win and he could do the postgame hero interview," Yanagi said.
Elsewhere, the Yomiuri Giants beat up on the DeNA BayStars 8-1, while in the Pacific League, the Nippon Ham Fighters held off the SoftBank Hawks 5-3.