NAGOYA – Akiyoshi Katsuno took a one-hitter into the sixth inning of his first professional start on Friday but gave up three runs and took the loss as the Yomiuri Giants beat the Chunichi Dragons 4-1.
Katsuno (0-1) pitched five dominant innings at Nagoya Dome until getting himself into a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the sixth. He ended up yielding four hits in his NPB debut, striking out three while walking three.
The 21-year-old joined the Dragons from the corporate leagues as the club’s third-round pick in the 2018 draft. He played for the national team at last year’s Asian Games in Indonesia, where Samurai Japan finished runner-up to South Korea.
Kazuma Okamoto capitalized on the rookie’s misfortune and stroked a two-run double before an RBI groundout from Yoshiyuki Kamei put the Giants up 3-0.
“I wanted to do something. The hit wasn’t good, but anything is fine if it gets in a run,” said Okamoto, who had 33 homers and 100 RBIs last season. “I got lucky but it was good to get ahead first.”
The Dragons had runners in scoring position in the first and third innings, but struggled to get on the board against second-year Giant Taylor Jungmann (3-0).
The former Milwaukee Brewer pitcher, who went 9-13 in his major league career, struck out the side in the second and scattered three hits over five scoreless innings, but was pulled after opening the sixth by loading the bases on two walks and a hit batter.
Yomiuri reliever Kyosuke Takagi delivered the first out of the home half of the inning and was replaced after a strikeout by Samuel Adames, who immediately allowed an RBI sacrifice fly to Nobumasa Fukuda. The Dominican fanned his final batter to limit the damage.
Ginjiro Sumitani added a late RBI double to cap the scoring as the Giants ended a four-game losing streak to retain their position atop the Central League standings.
BayStars 4, Swallows 3
Carp 10, Tigers 2
Marines 6, Eagles 1
Lions 7, Buffaloes 5 (10)
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5