Baseball: Munetaka Murakami homers in 1st at-bat of season in Yakult's win
TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Munetaka Murakami, a key member of Japan's World Baseball Classic-winning team, hit a two-run homer in his first at-bat of the season, leading the Yakult Swallows to a 4-0 win over the Hiroshima Carp on Friday.
A day after Nippon Professional Baseball's season began with the Nippon Ham Fighters' game at their new ballpark, Es Con Field Hokkaido, against the Rakuten Eagles, the other 10 teams played their season openers.
Yakult's Yasuhiro Ogawa (1-0) threw seven innings and combined with two relievers on a three-hit shutout.
Murakami, the Central League's Triple Crown winner last season, homered to center field off Daichi Osera (0-1) to give the Swallows a 2-0 lead in the first inning.
Jose Osuna added a solo blast in the sixth as part of his three-hit night at Tokyo's Jingu Stadium.
"I played my heart out at the WBC, and I carried that concentration into today's game," Murakami said. "I'm glad my trials and errors during batting practice led to the result."
In other CL action, the Hanshin Tigers defeated the DeNA BayStars 6-3. The Chunichi Dragons beat the Yomiuri Giants by the same score.
The Pacific League and Japan Series champion Orix Buffaloes edged the Seibu Lions 3-2 in 10 innings at Belluna Dome in Tokorozawa.
Tomoya Mori, who joined Orix from Seibu in the offseason, hit a game-tying solo home run with two outs in the ninth. Yuma Mune homered leading off the 10th.
The SoftBank Hawks blanked the Lotte Marines 4-0.