Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Carp rookie Osera goes distance in win over Tigers


Rookie Daichi Osera (3-1) came within three outs of his first shutout but settled for his first complete game as the Hiroshima Carp avoided a three-game sweep on Thursday night by beating the Hanshin Tigers 6-1.

Osera, the Carp’s top draft pick last autumn, allowed eight hits and two walks, while striking out seven to win his third straight decision and move Central League-leading Hiroshima one full game ahead of second-place Hanshin.

“If you are a starter, you never really want to surrender the mound to another pitcher, so I’m pretty happy with getting a complete game. At the end I was trying to hang in there and use all my strength on each and every pitch.”

Before a crowd of 38,457 at Koshien Stadium, Osera duked it out with rookie lefty Suguru Iwazaki, who was backed by the CL’s most prolific offense.

“I didn’t have a particular approach tonight,” Osera said. “I just tried to hit (catcher Yoshiyuki) Ishihara’s mitt. I went after them inside. My cutter was particularly good tonight.”

Rainel Rosario recorded the game’s first hit when he opened the third inning with a homer off Iwazaki (2-2). The Tigers opened the third with back-to-back singles, but Osera pitched out of the jam and soon had more room to work with.

The Carp scored twice in the top of the fourth, when Brad Eldred singled home Ryosuke Kikuchi and scored on a Rosario double.

Hiroshima drove Iwazaki from the mound in the fifth on back-to-back, one-out singles by Kikuchi and Yoshihiro Maru. Right-hander Ryo Watanabe was brought in to face Eldred with one out, and the Carp cleanup hitter reached the seats for his ninth home run of the season to make it a 6-0 game.

Osera pitched out of a few pickles to reach the ninth with the shutout intact but said he doesn’t work differently based on the situation.

“I’m not the kind of pitcher who can make little adjustments depending on the situation,” he said. “I just throw hard.”

Mauro Gomez broke up the shutout in the ninth inning, when he belted a fat pitch for his fifth homer of the season. With Osera’s pitch count climbing, he gave up two hits in the final frame, prompting a visit from skipper Kenjiro Nomura.

“He told me that shutouts were not easy to come by and that I should just put that out of my mind and get the next guy,” said Osera, who finished what he started with his 148th pitch.

“On one hand, I’m pretty excited, having thrown my first complete game, but I’m also a bit tired.”

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