Matt Murton on the verge of replacing Ichiro Suzuki as Japan's single-season hit king

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Two weeks ago, as former Cubs outfielder Matt Murton started closing is on Ichiro Suzuki’s single-season hit record in Japan, there was some speculation that opposing pitchers would cease giving him hittable pitches in an effort to keep him from breaking the record.
That has proven to be overblown, as yesterday Murton tied Suzuki’s record with his 210th hit of the season, and there are still three more games to play. Also of note is that Norichika Aoki has 204 hits, so with a big finish to the season he could potentially surpass Suzuki’s record as well.
I always felt that Murton deserved more of an opportunity to be an everyday player for the Cubs (and then the A’s and Rockies), so I’m very curious to see whether he opts to remain a superstar in Japan or returns to the United States in search of one last chance to play regularly.
Murton is a career .286/.352/.436 hitter and still just 28 years old, so you’d think several MLB teams would be willing to give him a shot.

Sean Manaea pitches first no-hitter of 2018

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Athletics southpaw Sean Manaea delivered his first career no-hitter against the Red Sox in a decisive 3-0 victory on Saturday night. Any thought of a perfect game was banished in the first at-bat, when Mookie Betts drew a leadoff six-pitch walk to open the first inning. From there, Manaea was nearly flawless, holding the Sox to four total baserunners and striking out 10 of 30 batters faced — a career record.

Manaea was gifted a three-run lead thanks to RBI doubles from Jed Lowrie and Stephen Piscotty and Marcus Semien‘s solo shot off of Chris Sale in the fifth inning. While the Red Sox managed to draw two walks off of Manaea, they didn’t come anywhere close to plating a run. Andrew Benintendi tried to break up the no-no in the sixth inning with an infield hit down the first base line, but strayed out of bounds and later saw his hit reversed on a call of batter interference.

Entering the ninth inning, the 26-year-old lefty was sitting at just 95 pitches through eight frames of no-hit ball. He quickly deposed Blake Swihart and Mookie Betts with a groundout and fly out, then walked Benintendi on seven pitches. Any threat the Red Sox might have posed was soon eliminated, however, as Hanley Ramirez ground into a force out to complete the no-hitter.

Manaea is the first A’s pitcher to toss a no-no since Dallas Braden’s perfect game against the Rays eight years ago. The last time the Red Sox were on the losing end of a no-hitter was also against an AL West rival, when the Mariners’ Chris Bosio clinched a 2-0 no-no on April 22, 1993. Manaea’s feat is even more outstanding given how dominant the Red Sox have looked this season: prior to Saturday’s defeat, they boasted a 17-2 record and had yet to be shut out during the regular season.