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Osera strikes out Maru 4 times as Carp open with win over Giants

Daichi Osera struck out former teammate and two-time MVP Yoshihiro Maru four times on Friday as the Hiroshima Carp kicked off Nippon Professional Baseball's 2019 season with a 5-0 win over the Yomiuri Giants.
The Carp, aiming for a fourth-straight Central League championship, lost Maru over the offseason to free agency. But the Giants' new center fielder accounted for only four of his team's 11 strikeouts against the Carp right-hander at Hiroshima's Mazda Stadium.
With excellent location and movement on all his pitches, Osera allowed seven singles and a walk over eight scoreless innings.
"I wanted to do my best so we could start the season in good fashion," said Osera, who was making his first Opening Day start. "I just focused on one batter at a time."
Giants ace Tomoyuki Sugano surrendered a third-inning solo homer to Tomohiro Abe. The right-hander, who has won the Sawamura award as Japan's most impressive starting pitcher for the past two seasons, allowed one run on four hits and three walks. He struck out three.
The Carp broke the game open in the eighth, scoring four times against the Giants bullpen.
Carp closer Shota Nakazaki loaded the bases with two outs before preserving the shutout.
In other CL games, the Hanshin Tigers came from behind to beat the Yakult Swallows 2-1 on Takashi Toritani's 11th inning triple and a wild pitch. In Yokohama, the DeNA BayStars beat the Chunichi Dragons 8-1.
In the Pacific League, Lotte center fielder Kyota Fujiwara became the first player to start on Opening Day straight out of high school since Shohei Ohtani did so in 2013. He went 1-for-4 as the Marines came from behind to beat the Rakuten Eagles 5-4.
In Sapporo, Sho Nakata hit a 10th-inning, walk-off grand slam to lift the Nippon Ham Fighters over the Orix Buffaloes 7-3. The defending Japan Series champion SoftBank Hawks beat the defending PL champion Seibu Lions 5-4 on Alfredo Despaigne's 11th-inning game-winning hit.


© KYODO
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