NISHINOMIYA, HYOGO PREFECTURE – Left-handed rookie Haruto Takahashi threw two-hit ball over seven scoreless innings to earn a win in his debut Wednesday as the Hanshin Tigers beat the Hiroshima Carp 4-1.
The second pick in the Tigers’ 2017 draft class, Takahashi (1-0) fanned five of the 22 batters he retired in his first NPB start at Koshien Stadium, while Carp lefty Kyohei Nakamura (0-1) gave up four hits and six walks in 4⅓ innings before being relieved.
In a preview of what was to come, Takahashi opened with a strike against the first batter he faced, Kosuke Tanaka, and then stopped the shortstop’s grounder for the first out of the game.
The 22-year-old struck out the next batter before center fielder Yoshihiro Maru bounced a single over his head. He ended the inning by fanning first baseman Alejandro Mejia.
After Nakamura walked Hiroki Uemoto in the bottom of the first, Tigers right fielder Yoshio Itoi hit an RBI double to center to bring the second baseman home for a 1-0 lead.
A couple of deep shots in the fifth nearly put the Carp on the board, but catches by Shunsuke Fujikawa and Shun Takayama at the wall and Tomohiro Abe’s grounder to second sealed the inning.
Nakamura, who made his first appearance since 2016, was relieved by righty Ren Nakata in the fifth after allowing the third walk of the inning to force Uemoto home. But with the bases loaded, Nakata gave up a two-run RBI to shortstop Kento Itohara to put the Tigers ahead 4-0.
Takahashi gave up his second hit to catcher Tsubasa Aizawa who knocked a single to left to lead off the sixth, but a double play and a grounder to short left Aizawa on base and Takahashi safe.
A string of fielding errors and a walk in the eighth allowed the Carp to avoid a shutout after pinch hitter Brad Eldred hit an RBI double to left center.
Reliever Rafael Dolis struck out two before giving up a double to Mejia in the ninth, and the righty got the last out at first and his fifth save of the season when Wilin Rosario stepped off the base to nab a Ryuhei Matsuyama grounder.
The Tigers improved to six wins and four losses, while Hiroshima fell to 6-5.
BayStars 6, Giants 3
At Tokyo Dome, reliever Kazuki Mishima (1-0) got the comeback win when a pair of two-run RBIs in the eighth saved Yokohama and handed Yomiuri its fifth straight loss.
Dragons 8, Swallows 3
At Nagoya Dome, Onelki Garcia (2-0) picked up his second win after a seven-run fifth inning, fueled by Toshiki Abe’s three-run RBI double and Zoilo Almonte’s two-run homer, lifted Chunichi over left-hander Dave Huff (0-1) and Tokyo Yakult.
Marines 6, Lions 3
At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, Kota Futaki (1-1) gave up eight hits but earned his first win as Fabio Castillo (1-1) and the Lions struggled to get runs in their second straight loss to Lotte after snapping a season-opening eight-game winning streak on Tuesday.
Hawks 8, Fighters 5
At Fukuoka’s Yafuoku Dome, three homers and six runs in the first two innings started a Fukuoka SoftBank victory over Nippon Ham that earned Rick van den Hurk (1-1) his first win of the season.
The right-hander struck out seven over six innings, giving up four hits and three walks.
Buffaloes 2, Eagles 2 (12)