Baseball: Swallows teen Okugawa earns rain-hit 1st victory

©Kyodo News

Hard-throwing rookie Yasunobu Okugawa overcame a four-run first inning and a long rain delay to earn his first pro victory as the Yakult Swallows came from behind to beat the Hiroshima Carp 11-7 in the Central League on Thursday.

The 19-year-old Okugawa (1-1), one of the stars of Japan's 2019 pro draft, allowed five-straight hits in the top of the first at Tokyo's Jingu Stadium to put his team in a four-run hole, but one his teammates quickly erased.

Naomichi Nishiura singled in the tying run in the home half before the game was held up for nearly an hour for rain. The Carp restored their lead on a third-inning leadoff homer by Seiya Suzuki.

Back-to-back RBI singles by Nishiura and rookie Yu Matsumoto gave the Swallows a 6-5 lead in the bottom of the third and the hosts never looked back.

"I got hit pretty badly in the first inning, so I owe this first win to the position players who scored so many runs," said Okugawa, who left after allowing five runs over five innings.

Nishiura finished 3-for-5 with three RBIs, while Swallows leadoff man Kotaro Yamasaki went 4-for-5 with a double, a home run, two runs and two RBIs.

Suzuki homered twice, doubled and singled, scoring three and driving in three for the Carp.

At Koshien Stadium, lefty Yuki Takahashi (2-0) worked seven-plus innings and Giants captain Hayato Sakamoto hit his first home run of the year in Yomiuri's 3-0 win over the Central League-leading Hanshin Tigers.

At Nagoya's Vantelin Dome, rookie Shugo Maki hit a two-run home run and reliever Yasuaki Yamasaki (1-0) worked a 1-2-3 eighth inning to earn the win when the DeNA BayStars scored three unearned ninth-inning runs to beat the Chunichi Dragons 5-2.

At Sapporo Dome, veteran Akira Nakamura's two-run eighth-inning single off veteran left-handed reliever Naoki Miyanishi (0-1) capped a three-run rally as the defending Pacific league champion SoftBank Hawks came from behind to beat the Nippon Ham Fighters 4-2.

At MetLife Dome, Eigoro Mogi homered, doubled, singled and drove in three runs as the league-leading Rakuten Eagles beat the Seibu Lions 4-0 to complete a three-game sweep.

At Chiba's Zozo Marine Stadium, Orix Buffaloes ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto (2-1) struck out eight over seven innings in a 5-1 win over the Lotte Marines.