Yakult’s Murakami sets record with HRs in 5 straight at-bats

Sports Hochi
Tokyo Yakult’s Munetaka Murakami hits his 39th home run of the season, a two-run shot in the third inning, on Tuesday night at Jingu Stadium.

Munetaka Murakami of the Tokyo Yakult Swallows set a Nippon Professional Baseball record by finishing off a streak of five home runs in as many plate appearances, completing the run with two longballs on Tuesday night at Jingu Stadium.

Murakami, who had homers in his final three at-bats in his previous game, belted a solo shot in the first inning of Tuesday’s 5-0 Central League victory over the Chunichi Dragons.

That blast tied the record — shared by Yomiuri Giants legend Sadaharu Oh, among others — and the Swallows slugger broke the mark with his 39th homer of the season, a drive to left-center field with a runner aboard in the third inning. The 22-year-old cleanup man doubled down the line in left in his next trip to the plate to end the streak of homers.

“It was just the result of concentrating on each at-bat,” Murakami said. “I guess [homers in] five consecutive times up was a reward for that.”

The young slugger said the ride was fun, but it’s time to get back to business.

“I want to refocus and do my best.”

Murakami, the team’s first pick in the 2018 draft, played at Kyushu Gakuin Lutheran High School in Kumamoto Prefecture.

He hit 39 longballs last season to win the home run crown and was also named the MVP of the CL.