NPB Plays Openers

The Japanese baseball league NPB played their openers yesterday. Next week myworld will identify the top ten Japanese players under 25 to watch during the season.

Lotte 3 Nippon Ham 2

The Fighters gave the opening start to Shohei Otani and he struggled early, giving up three runs in the opening frame in the 3-2 loss. Alfredo Despaigne slapped him for an RBI single and Selya Inoue drove in two with a double. Otani pitched six shutout innings striking out the side in the seventh and allowing just two hits the rest of the way, but the Fighters offense could not overcome the 3-0 deficit. Hideaki Wakui mesmerized the Fighter bats with seven innings of four hit shutout ball to get the win. The Fighters were able to break through in the eighth with two unearned runs, but Yuji Nishino retired the side in order in the ninth to secure the victory.

Seibu Lions 5 Orix Buffaloes 4

In the bottom of the ninth Takumi Kuriyama tripled in the game tying run and Ernesto Mejia provided the walkoff hit to give the Lions an opening day win. For Mejia it was his second straight RBI single. Erik Cordier was called on to close the game in the ninth for the Buffaloes but could only retire one batter. Brent Morel had three hits for the Buffaloes, including an RBI single in the top of the ninth to give them a temporary 4-3 lead.

Rakuten Golden Eagles 7 Softbank Hawks 3

Leadoff hitter Takero Okajima sprayed four singles, driving in three runs to give the Eagles a 7-3 win over the defending champion Hawks. The Eagles ran away from the game in the second when they used four walks and an error to score five runs. Kazuya Fujita and Okajima each had two run singles in the inning, the two combining for a 6 for 6 day with two sacrifice hits and a hit by pitch. Strikeout machine Takahiro Norimoto got the season off to a good start with 11 whiffs in his seven innings of work. He struggled early, coughing up all three runs in the first two innings, but restricted the Hawks to just one hit in the next five.

Yokahama Bay Stars 2 Hiroshima Carp 1

Shoichi Ino tossed seven innings of shutout ball, allowing just three hits to give the Bay Stars their opening day victory. They got all the runs they needed in the second on a two run single from Tatsuhiro Shibata. Yasuaki Yamasaki pitched the ninth inning to close out the victory. Kris Johnson took the loss for the Carp despite pitching eight tough innings.

Chunichi Dragons 5 Hanshin Tigers 2

Dayan Viciedo made an impact for the Dragons with an RBI single and a solo homerun.

Yomiuri Giants 3 Yakult Swallows 1

In a battle between two Tokyo teams it was the Giants who reigned supreme. Tomoyuki Sugano tamed the Swallow bats with seven innings of five hit shutout ball. Hisayoshi Chono broke the 0-0 deadlock with a solo homerun in the fourth and Seiji Kobayashi extended the lead in the seventh bashing a two run double.

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