Hirano signed a one-year, $1.4 million contract Saturday with the Orix Buffaloes of Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball, the Kyodo News reports. Hirano had a strong debut MLB campaign with the Diamondbacks in 2018, posting a 2.44 ERA. He hasn't been the same over the last two years, struggling to a 4.96 ERA. Heading into his age-37 season, it's unsurprising to see him fail to get a sufficient offer at the highest level, so he'll return to the team for which he's spent the entirety of his 11-year NPB career.
Hirano allowed two runs on three hits and a walk while striking out a batter in the ninth as he picked up his fourth save of the season Wednesday against the Astros. Hirano surrendered a leadoff walk to Kyle Tucker but quickly got two outs before Aledmys Diaz doubled to left to bring the tying runner to the plate in Josh Reddick. Reddick singled home Tucker and Diaz, but the Astros weren't able to complete the ninth-inning comeback after Hirano struck out Jose Altuve on a high heater to end the game. The right-hander owns a 3.75 ERA and has converted all four of his save chances.
Hirano allowed three hits in a scoreless ninth inning to earn the save in Saturday's 4-1 win over the Padres. He struck out none. Hirano allowed the first three batters to reach via singles, but he got Jake Cronenworth to ground into a double play before retiring Jurickson Profar on a groundout as well. Hirano has picked up all three of his saves in his last five outings. The 36-year-old has a 2.70 ERA, 1.50 WHIP and eight strikeouts across 10 innings this season.
Hirano struck out one in a scoreless seventh inning to record his second save of the season during a 6-5 win over the A's in the first game of Monday's doubleheader. Yohan Ramirez got the M's last save chance back on Sept. 7, but it was Hirano's turn in this one and he got the job done, although a two-out HBP on Mark Canha made things a little bit interesting. Hirano has a 3.00 ERA, 1.33 WHIP and 8:4 K:BB through nine innings, and he should remain in the high-leverage mix for Seattle as it makes a last-ditch push for a wild-card spot over the final weeks.
Hirano allowed a solo homer in the ninth inning Sunday but still earned the save against the Rangers. He struck out three batters. In his first save chance of the season, Hirano made things interesting by allowing a solo shot to Ronald Guzman, but he still shut the door to convert the opportunity. After four scoreless appearances to start the season, the 36-year-old has allowed three runs in his last two outings. For now, he still appears to be Seattle's main man in the ninth inning.
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