Japan Opening Day

The Nippon Professional Baseball League had their opening day.  Of note were the two hits by rookie Shohei Otani, the Japanese high school pitcher who had declared his intent to play in the major leagues directly out of high school only to change his mind after the Nippon Ham Fighters successfully courted him.  Otani was the Ham Fighters starting right fielder and not their pitcher.  The Ham Fighters won their game against the Seibu Lions 5-3.

Yuichi Honda slugged a grand slam homerun in the seventh to give the Softbank Hawks a 7-1 win over the Rakuten Eagles.  Tadashi Settsu worked six innings of three hit ball to get the win.  Toro Hosokawa slugged a 2-run homer in the third to give the Hawks a 2-1 lead.

Orix scored a run in the 12th but the Chiba Lotte Marines rallied for two in the bottom frame to win 3-2.  A bases loaded walk tied the game and a sacrifice fly plated the game winner.  Shunichi Nemoto drove in two runs without the benefit of a hit to give the Marines the win.

The Yokahama Bay Stars hope to end their losing ways, knocking off the Chunichi Dragons 4-3.  Ex-Dragon Tony Blanco had a 2-run single in the eighth to break a 2-2.  He also had an RBI single in the first inning.  Alex Ramirez stroked two hits and now needs just five more to reach 2,000.

The Hanshin Tigers strafed the Yakult Swallows pitching staff for 17 hits in their 9-3 win.  Yamato Maeda led the charge with four hits.  Brooks Conrad stroked two doubles in his Japanese debut.

The defending champion Yomiuri Giants down the Hiroshima Carp 4-3.  Ryota Wakiya got the big hit, a 2-run single in the seventh to give the Giants a 4-3 lead.  Jose Lopez and Shuichi Murata each hit solo homeruns for the Giants two other runs.

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