Masato Morishita threw six shutout innings as the Hiroshima Carp won 1-0 to end the Hanshin Tigers’ perfect start to the season on Tuesday in the Central League.
Morishita (1-0), who went 10-3 with a 1.91 ERA to win CL Rookie of the Year last season, kept the in-form Hanshin batting order at bay, allowing just one single in the fourth inning. The right-hander struck out seven and walked three in a 100-pitch effort at Mazda Stadium.
Ryosuke Kikuchi’s sixth-inning RBI single made the difference after Ernesto Mejia opened the frame with a pinch-hit single off Yuki Nishi (0-1). Following a sacrifice bunt, Kikuchi pulled a line drive down the left-field line for the game’s only run.
Nishi held Hiroshima to five hits and a walk as he fanned four over seven innings in an 80-pitch outing, but his Hanshin teammate failed to back him up. Three Hiroshima relievers — Daisuke Moriura, Atsuya Horie and Ryoji Kuribayashi — each gave up a hit but threw a scoreless inning to seal the win.
At Yokohama Stadium, the Yakult Swallows won their first game of the season with a 5-4 comeback win over the DeNA BayStars. Pinch-hitting Shingo Kawabata plated the go-ahead run with a two-out double in the four-run eighth.
At Vantelin Dome, the Chunichi Dragons and the Yomiuri Giants played out a 3-3 tie. Chunichi lefty Yudai Ono, the winner of the Sawamura Award last year as Japan’s most impressive starting pitcher, allowed two runs over seven innings.
The Giants earlier in the day deactivated ace Tomoyuki Sugano after he reported discomfort in his leg. The reigning CL MVP will most likely return to the rotation after skipping one assignment, according to the team.
In the Pacific League, Takayuki Kishi (1-0) shut out the Lotte Marines on eight hits in the Rakuten Eagles’ 5-0 win at Zozo Marine Stadium.
At Kyocera Dome Osaka, the SoftBank Hawks continued their perfect start to the season with a 3-1 win over the Orix Buffaloes. SoftBank scored two runs in the second on a sac fly and a Nobuhiro Matsuda RBI single.
Hotaka Yamakawa and rookie Brandon Tysinger homered for the Seibu Lions in their 11-4 win over the Nippon Ham Fighters at Sapporo Dome.
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