Kansas City, Missouri – Right-hander Kohei Arihara made a promising start to his big-league career for the Texas Rangers on Saturday, exiting with his team holding a one-run lead that soon vanished as the Kansas City Royals ran out with an 11-4 win.
The 28-year-old former Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters ace threw four scoreless frames but was pulled after giving up three runs in the fifth inning of the American League contest at Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium. He allowed six hits and no walks over the five innings, with one strikeout.
The Rangers went into the fifth with a 4-0 lead thanks to a two-run first-inning homer from Joey Gallo and a two-RBI single from Nate Lowe in the third.
Arihara surrendered a home run to Michael Taylor to lead off the bottom of the inning, then gave up further runs on a Hanser Alberto double and a Whit Merrifield groundout. He made way for right-hander Josh Sborz to start the sixth.
“It was a special occasion, so I felt nervous. If I changed my approach the second time around (against the batting lineup), I may have gotten better results. I want to improve on that next time,” said Arihara, who joined the Rangers on a two-year deal after being posted by the Pacific League’s Fighters.
Kansas City starter Mike Minor got the win, while Sborz was tagged with the loss after giving up three of the seven runs scored by the Royals in the sixth.
Also in the AL, Los Angeles Angels manager Joe Maddon confirmed another former Fighter, two-way star Shohei Ohtani, will be in the batting lineup when he makes his pitching debut for the season against the Chicago White Sox on Sunday.
While Ohtani has previously performed such double duties for Nippon Ham in the PL, it will be his first time to do so in the majors.
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