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Hiroshima Carp right-hander Kenta Maeda, the Central League leader in wins, ERA and strikeouts this season, won his first Sawamura Award on Monday.

Maeda, in his fourth season with Hiroshima, is the first CL recipient of the Japanese equivalent of the Cy Young Award since Kenshin Kawakami in 2004, when the Atlanta Braves pitcher was with the Chunichi Dragons.

The 22-year-old Maeda had a 15-8 record for the fifth-place Carp. He posted a 2.21 ERA while racking up 174 strikeouts.

“I didn’t think I would get it,” said Maeda, the first Sawamura winner from Hiroshima since Shinji Sasaoka in 1991. “I knew that no one had won it from the CL in recent seasons, so I’m happy.”

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