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03/31/2003 Archived Entry: "Japanese Baseball News: Fighters and Dragons Triumphant on Opening Day"

Uehara Flamed for Five in Seventh in 7-3 Dragons Win

Just after the Yomiuri Giants had rallied for two runs in the sixth to take a 3-2 lead, Giants starter Koji Uehara, taking on his club record tying fourth consecutive opening day assignment, couldn't get anyone out in the seventh and got hurt by a Roberto Petagine throwing error to lose it 7-3 to the Chunichi Dragons Friday at Tokyo Dome. Kenshin Kawakami wasn't all that great, either, but he got three innings of two hit relief to hold the line and walked away with the victory.

Things looked promising for the home team when leftfielder Takayuki Shimizu put the hammer down on a curve ball in the first and buried it in the rightfield bleachers for a 1-0 lead. That was the first leadoff opening day roundtripper by anyone since Koji Akiyama did it with the Daiei Hawks three years ago and the first time a Giant did it since 1956, when Wally Yonamine pulled it off.

Yomiuri then threatened in the second, as, with two gone, catcher Shinnosuke Abe doubled down the leftfield line and second baseman Toshihisa Nishi singled to center, Abe, not wanting to challenge Alex Ochoa's arm, holding at third. Unfortunately, Uehara was next and he flied out harmlessly to right to terminate the uprising.

In the meantime, the Dragons weren't getting very far against Uehara for the first third of the game. But in the fourth, Ochoa got a fourth pitch 88mph fastball and belted the daylights out of it, propelling it an estimated 478 feet into the centerfield bleachers to knot it at one all. That made Ochoa the first Chunichi foreign player to go yard on opening day since Benny DiStefano did it in 1990.

Then in the fifth, rightfielder Kosuke Fukudome hammered one into the leftfield stands and the Nagoya crew were in front 2-1.

Abe doubled again to kick off the fifth, but was left on the basepaths when Kawakami induced a flyout and a pair of groundouts to second. They did, however, dent Kawakami in the sixth. With one down, first baseman Takayuki Saito singled to center and centerfielder Yoshinobu Takahashi singled to right. One out later, third baseman Daisuke Motoki singled to left and Saito reported to even it at 2-2. Abe then spanked a single to center and Takahashi scampered across the plate to make it 3-2 kyojin.

But the Dragons returned to blow Uehara up real good. With one away, leftfielder Kazuki Inoue singled to left. Manager Hisashi Yamada flashed the hit and run sign on a 1-2 count and second baseman Masahiro Araki executed it with a single to left, Inoue going to third. Koichi Sekikawa, pinch hitting for Kawakami, singled to right to level it at 3-3. Fukudome wacked a single to right to plate Araki. Shortstop Hirokazu Ibata walked to load the bases. Manager Tatsunori Hara dialed local for Yukinaga Maeda, who promptly coughed up a single to right by third baseman Kazuyoshi Tatsunami. As Sekikawa trotted in, Fukudome turned on the afterburners for the plate. Rightfielder Petagine gathered the ball up and heaved it way off line and over Abe's head, the ball rolling to the front of the third base dugout while Ibata set the controls for the heart of home plate. Now it was 7-3 and Tatsunami was on third thanks to the two base error. Maeda struckout Ochoa and first baseman Ivan Cruz, but the damage was done. The Giants never really got anything going again and Masafumi Hirai spun a perfect ninth to close it out for the visitors.

Petagine told reporters after the game that he didn't get a good grip on the ball and that he would practice hard to ensure that such an error would never happen again.

Uehara, whose seven runs given up tied a personal worst, pitched with his right hamstring taped up after he hurt it a couple of weeks ago. The defeat also made it two losing openers in a row for Yomiuri, the first time in 23 years they had done that.

Tatsunami now needs just 80 hits for 2000, which will get him a membership in the exclusive Meikyukai ("famous players club").

There was kind of a bizarre incident after the game, as a middle aged woman confronted Takahashi in the parking lot and claimed to be the Keio University grad's mother. She was carted off by police.

For Yomiuri, Petagine was 0-4 and is at .000.

For Chunichi, Ochoa was 1-5 with an RBI and is at .200. Cruz was 0-4 and is at .000.

Also, see Japan Times Article

Pitching Lines:


Kawakami (W, 1-0) IP 6.0 BF 26 PC 85 H 9 HR 1 K 3 BB 0 R 3 ER 3 ERA 4.50
Ochiai IP 1.0 BF 3 PC 9 H 0 HR 0 K 1 BB 0 R 0 ER 0 ERA 0.00
Iwase IP 1.0 BF 5 PC 20 H 2 HR 0 K 3 BB 0 R 0 ER 0 ERA 0.00
M. Hirai IP 1.0 BF 3 PC 11 H 0 HR 0 K 1 BB 0 R 0 ER 0 ERA 0.00


Uehara (L, 0-1) IP 6.1 BF 29 PC 111 H 8 HR 2 K 6 BB 2 R 7 ER 6 ERA 8.53
Y. Maeda IP 0.2 BF 3 PC 10 H 1 HR 0 K 1 BB 0 R 0 ER 0 ERA 0.00
Kubo IP 0.2 BF 4 PC 17 H 1 HR 0 K 0 BB 1 R 0 ER 0 ERA 0.00
Kashiwada IP 1.1 BF 4 PC 16 H 0 HR 0 K 1 BB 0 R 0 ER 0 ERA 0.00

E: Petagine
SB: Nishi
2B: Tatsunami, S. Abe 2, Tanishige
HR: T. Shimizu(1), Ochoa (1), Fukudome (1)
RBI: Fukudome 2, Tatsunami 2, Ochoa, Sekikawa, T. Shimizu, Motoki, S Abe
LOB: Chunichi 6, Yomiuri 7

Season Series: Chunichi 1, Yomiuri 0

Game Time: 3:07
Attendance: 55,000
Umpires: Watarita (HP), Manabe (1B) Tani (2B), Kasahara (3B)

Mirabal Outduels Matsuzaka to Give Hillman Firs Japan Victory

If Carlos Mirabal were disposed to do such things, he could have done a little superior dance after leaving this one, as he went 7.2 brilliant innings of six hit shutout ball, striking out three and walking none, to best Daisuke Matsuzaka and the Seibu Lions 4-1. Matsuzaka wasn't bad, either, surrendering four runs (only two earned) on seven hits while fanning ten, but it wasn't good enough and Nippon Ham Fighters manager Trey Hillman became the first foreign manager to win his initial opening day battle since Don Blasingame with Hanshin in 1979.

Nippon Ham exploited a Lions miscue in the second to get on the big board, as Tomochika Tsuboi beat out a bleeder toward short with one out. DH Kazuteru Shimada grounded to third baseman Tsuyoshi Furuya, who kicked it. One out later, Second baseman Kokichi Akune laced a shot to the rightcenterfield wall and both Tsuboi and Shimada sprinted in for a 2-0 advantage.

Mirabal and Matsuzaka settledin from there until the fifth, when Akune walked and went to second on a sac bunt. Shortstop Makoto Kaneko slapped a single to center and Akune made the turn home to widen it to 3-0.

In the sixth, the Fighters capped off their scoring when Shimada unloaded on a slider and parked it a few rows into the leftfield seats and it was 4-0.

Mirabal had two outs in the eighth and was nearing his pre-determined pitch limit of 100 when shortstop Kazuo Matsui singled to left and rightfielder Tatsuya Ozeki singled to center. Hillman went to the pen for Noriyuki Takahashi and he walked pinch hitter Toshiaki Inubushi to pack the sacks. Hillman then signaled for Masashi Date, who retired pinch hitter Masahide Kaizuki on a fly ball to left to escape the largest Seibu revolt of the night.

The Lions did finally get off the shnide in the ninth when leftfielder Kazuhiro Wada mortared one into the leftfield stands to open the frame. Date walked DH Hiroyuki Shibata, but he was cut down when Furuya grounded into the 1-4-3 double play. Pinch hitter Hiroyuki Nakajima walked. Date then ended the drama when pinch hitter Hiroyuki Oshima flew out to put it in the books as a 4-1 Fighters triumph.

Hillman said after the game that Matsuzaka was so quick to the plate that he was difficult to run on. Therefore, Hillman wasn't able to force very much in this one.

For Nippon Ham, leftfielder Angel Echevarria was 0-5 with three strikeouts and is at .000. First baseman D.T. Cromer was 0-4 with two strikeouts and is at .000.

For Seibu, Matsui finished the night 1-4 with an error and is at .250.

Pitching Lines:

Nippon Ham:

Mirabal (W, 1-0) IP 7.2 BF 29 PC 107 H 6 HR 0 K 3 BB 0 R 0 ER 0 ERA 0.00
N. Takahashi IP 0.0 BF 1 PC 12 H 0 HR 0 K 0 BB 1 R 0 ER 0 ERA 0.00
Date (S, 1) IP 1.2 BF 6 PC 29 H 1 HR 1 K 0 BB 2 R 1 ER 1 ERA 6.75


Matsuzaka (L, 0-1) IP 7.0 BF 31 PC 142 H 7 HR 1 K 10 BB 2 R 4 ER 2 ERA 2.57
K. Maeda IP 1.0 BF 5 PC 21 H 2 HR 0 K 2 BB 0 R 0 ER 0 ERA 0.00
Osada IP 1.0 BF 4 PC 21 H 1 HR 0 K 1 BB 0 R 0 ER 0 ERA 0.00

E: K. Matsui, Furuya
2B: Akune, M. Ogasawara
HR: K. Shimada (1), H. Wada (1)
RBI: Kaneko, K. Shimada, Akune 2, H. Wada
GIDP: Furuya
LOB: Nippon Ham 9, Seibu 8

Season Series: Nippon Ham 1, Seibu 0

Game Time: 3:21
Attendance: 31,000
Umpires: Yamamoto (HP), Kawaguchi (1B), Nakamura (2B), Akimura (3B)

Woods Homer in Eighth Helps Yokohama Edge Tigers 4-2

Yokohama Bay Stars first baseman Tyrone Woods clobbered an eighth inning solo homer Friday at Yokohama Stadium to provide his side with an important insurance run and racked up a total of two RBIs to power the Stars to a 4-2 win over the Hanshin Tigers. Yuji Yoshimi started for the victors and needed nearly 130 pitches to get through his seven innings of two run ball on four hits, but he also walked four and Hanshin just couldn't organize enough offensively to overcome the deficit..

Kei Igawa started for the Tigers and he wasn't as consistent as he usually is, being touched for seven hits and three runs in six innings to get hung with the defeat.

Woods ignited a rally for Yokohama in the second with a walk and he went to second when secomd baseman Hirofumi Ogawa grounded to first baseman Shinjiro Hiyama, but Igawa was late getting to the bag and Ogawa beat Hiyama's lunging tag for a gift infield hit. One out later, centerfielder Tatsuhiko Kinjo bopped a deep drive that centerfielder Norihiro Akahoshi got his glove on but couldn't hold and Woods motored in to make it 1-0. It was ruled a double. The runners moved up on a groundout to first and then Yoshimi singled to left to bring Ogawa in and it was 2-0 Stars.

Woods was in the middle of another scoring opportunity in the third, as Hitoshi Taneda singled to center and leftfielder Takanori Suzuki singled to right. Woods singled to left and Taneda hustled in to stretch the Yokohama lead to 3-0.

Yoshimi, who was clocked at 89mph, dominated the Tigers between the third and the sixth, but in the seventh, Hanshin attempted to get back in it. With one down, third baseman George Arias and catcher Akihiro Yano walked. Katsumi Hirosawa had the count at 0-2 and then battled Yoshimi for eight more pitches before singling to center on a changeup on the outer half of the plate to send Arias in. Hiroshi Yagi grounded into a 6-4 force. Second baseman Makoto Imaoka singled to center to usher Yano in and now it was a one run ballgame at 3-2. Akahoshi, though, grounded to second and the Osaka favorite sons were never heard from again.

Nevertheless, an insurance run would be nice in asuch a close ballgame and Woods stepped up to the plate in both senses of the word in the eighth and got real gone to leftcenter for the final margin of victory, 4-2.

Tigers boss Senichi Hoshino wasn't too pleased with the official scorer, as he grumbled that calling the Kinjo shot a double and not an error "makes him a failure at his job."

For Hanshin, Arias was 0-3 with a walk and is at .000.

For Yokohama, Woods was 2-3 with a walk and two RBIs and is at .667.

Pitching Lines:


Igawa (L, 0-1) IP 6.0 BF 25 PC 102 H 7 HR 0 K 6 BB 1 R 3 ER 3 ERA 4.50
Taninaka IP 0.1 BF 1 PC 2 H 0 HR 0 K 0 BB 0 R 0 ER 0 ERA 0.00
Yoshino IP 1.0 BF 4 PC 18 H 1 HR 0 K 3 BB 0 R 0 ER 0 ERA 0.00
Kanazawa IP 0.2 BF 3 PC 12 H 1 HR 1 K 1 BB 0 R 1 ER 1 ERA 13.50


Yoshimi (W, 1-0) IP 7.0 BF 29 PC 129 H 4 HR 0 K 4 BB 4 R 2 ER 2 ERA 2.57
R. Kawahara IP 0.1 BF 1 PC 3 H 0 HR 0 K 0 BB 0 R 0 ER 0 ERA 0.00
Tomori IP 0.2 BF 3 PC 10 H 0 HR 0 K 0 BB 1 R 0 ER 0 ERA 0.00
Whiteside (S, 1) IP 1.0 BF 3 PC 16 H 0 HR 0 K 1 BB 0 R 0 ER 0 ERA 0.00

SB: Akahoshi, T. Ishii, Taneda
2B: T. Ishii, Kinjo
HR: Woods (1)
RBI: Imaoka, Hirosawa, Woods 2, Kinjo, Yoshimi
GIDP: Ogawa
LOB: Hanshin 7, Yokohama 5

Season Series: Hanhin 0, Yokohama 1

Game Time: 3:03
Attendance: 30,000
Umpires: Mori (HP), Ino (1B), Nishimoto (2B), Watamari (3B)

Valdez' Three RBIs, Saito Dominance Wins it for Daiei 7-3

Kazumi Saito had a no hitter for 6.2 innings in an outstanding 7.2 innings of two hit, one run ball, as leftfielder Pedro Valdez homered and drove in three runs to spearhead the Daiei Hawks attack in their 7-3 smacking of the Chiba Lotte Marines Friday at Fukuoka Dome. Nathan Minchey was the victim of the Daiei attack, as he accepted blame for the loss in the wake of a six run, ten hit five inning outing.

Daiei grabbed a 2-0 lead in the third when rightfielder Kazuyuki Takahashi beat out a roller toward short and, two outs later, Valdez took advantage of Minchey leaving pitches in the middle of the plate all night and rocketed one into the rightfield bleachers to make it 2-0.

The birds of prey doubled that in the fourth, as catcher Kenji Johjima singled to left and lit out for home on a double to leftcenter from DH Noriyoshi Omichi. Second baseman Tadahito Iguchi doubled into the rightfield corner to hail Omichi in. Third baseman Bryant Nelson singled to right. The next three men all went down, however, and it remained 4-0.

In the fifth, Valdez leadoff with a walk and, one out later, Johjima singled to left. Omichi struckout, but Minchey plunked Iguchi to load the bases. Nelson cracked a single to center and both Johjima and Iguchi crossed to put the Hawks up 6-0.

Lotte finally broke up the no no with two outs in the seventh when leftfielder Tetsuya Kakiuchi ripped a shot off the glove of Nelson for an infield hit.

The Hawks then blew a bases loaded, one out chance in the seventh. Lotte, though, could only obtain a lone run in the eighth off of Saito. With one away, catcher Masaumi Shimizu walked and shortstop Makoto Kosaka singled to right, Shimizu rumbling to third. Rightfielder Saburo Omura flew out to right and Shimizu tagged up and scored to make it 6-1. Saito walked Centerfielder Toshio Haru and Daiei skipper gave the tiring Saito the hook in favor of Shuji Yoshida, who free passed first baseman Kazuya Fukuura to juice the bags. But Derrick May flew out to center to end the inning.

The Hawks got that run back in their ups when shortstop Munenori Kawasaki walked and then rode Valdez' double off the centerfield fence home to make it 7-1.

Katsunori Okamoto came on for the ninth and Lotte second baseman Koichi Hori outran a ground ball toward third with one out. Third baseman Rick Short homered to left to get his side within 7-3. Okamoto then got the next two men to put it in the refrigerator.

For Daiei, Nelson was 2-4 with two RBIs and is at .500. Valdez was 3-4 with three RBIs and a walk and is at .750.

For Lotte, Short was 1-4 with two RBIs and is at .250.

Pitching Lines:


Minchey (L, 0-1) IP 5.0 BF 27 PC 97 H 10 HR 1 K 3 BB 1 R 6 ER 6 ERA 10.80
Funaki IP 2.0 BF 9 PC 41 H 2 HR 0 K 3 BB 1 R 0 ER 0 ERA 0.00
Kanda IP 1.0 BF 5 PC 21 H 1 HR 0 K 2 BB 1 R 1 ER 1 ERA 9.00


K. Saito (W, 1-0) IP 7.2 BF 29 PC 122 H 2 HR 0 K 6 BB 4 R 1 ER 1 ERA 1.17
S. Yoshida IP 0.1 BF 2 PC 10 H 0 HR 0 K 0 BB 1 R 0 ER 0 ERA 0.00
K. Okamoto IP 1.0 BF 5 PC 15 H 2 HR 1 K 1 BB 0 R 2 ER 2 ERA 18.00

SB: Nelson
2B: Omichi 2, Iguchi, P. Valdez
HR: P. Valdez (1), Short (1)
RBI: S. Omura, Short 2, P. Valdez 3, Omichi, Iguchi, Nelson 2
SF: S. Omura
HBP: Iguchi (Minchey)
LOB: Lotte 6, Daiei 10

Season Series: Lotte 0, Daiei 1

Game Time: 3:06
Attendance: 48,000
Umpires: Yamamura (HP), Kodera (1B), Hayashi (2B), Maeda (3B)

Powell Solid, Yoshii Shelled in 7-3 Kintetsu Triumph

Kintetsu Buffaloes starter Jeremy Powell went six solid innings of two run, ten strikeout ball on seven hits while receiving oodles of offensive support, with both DH Kenshi Kawaguchi and leftfielder Tuffy Rhodes driving in a pair each, to notch an opening day victory 7-3 against the Orix Blue Wave Friday at Osaka Dome. The Kobe nine's vaunted gaijin trio of first baseman Scott Sheldon, leftfielder Roosevelt Brown and third baseman Jose Ortiz went a combined 2-11 with six strikeouts, a walk and an RBI in defeat.

Masato Yoshii started for Orix and was awful, as he was knocked around for five runs on nine hits in four innings to get a loss in his first Japanese outing since returning from MLB.

Centerfielder Yoshitomo Tani began his new campaign with a single to center, but Powell then struckout the side. However, Orix was able to seize a temporary advantage in the second when Ortiz, in his first regular season at bat in Japan, blasted one into the leftfield seats to make it 1-0.

But in the bottom of the second, rightfielder Koichi Isobe and first baseman Yuji Yoshioka each singled to center. Kawaguchi doubled to leftcenter and both runners sailed around the diamond to come from behind and claim a 2-1 lead. One out later, catcher Tetsuya Matoyama buried one in the leftfield seats and it was 4-1 Kintetsu.

The Buffs returned in the fourth to ring up another when shortstop Osamu Hoshino singled to center and went to second on a sacrifice. Centerfielder Naoyuki Omura beat out a tapper toward first. Second baseman Eiji Mizuguchi singled to center and Kintetsu was in control at 5-1.

In the fifth, Orix got back on the board when catcher Takeshi Hidaka did the long distance runaround to right to make it 5-2.

Kintetsu saw that one and raised them another in the sixth when Omura and Mizuguchi both walked with two outs and Rhodes singed one into the leftcenter alley to get them in and it was 7-2 Buffs.

Ikuro Katsuragi went yard to right off of Motoyuki Akahori to commence the ninth to make it 7-3 and that was all Orix, whose hitters went 0-8 with runners in scoring position, could muster.

Powell, who was able to throw all of his pitches for strikes, said that he would give himself a 90 out of 100.

Yoshii said that he wasn't particularly tense and he wasn't overthrowing. He wants to put this behind him and do better in his next start.

For Kintetsu, Rhodes, who also made a nice leaping catch against the wall in the fourth, was 2-3 with two RBIs and a steal and is at .667.

For Orix, Brown was 0-3 with two strikeouts and a walk and is at .000. Ortiz was 1-4 with an RBI and is at .250. Sheldon was 1-4 with three strikeouts and is at .250.

Pitching Lines:


Yoshii (L, 0-1) IP 4.0 BF 22 PC 80 H 9 HR 1 K 1 BB 1 R 5 ER 5 ERA 11.25
M. Doi IP 2.0 BF 9 PC 45 H 1 HR 0 K 2 BB 3 R 2 ER 2 ERA 9.00
T. Yamamoto IP 0.1 BF 2 PC 6 H 1 HR 0 K 0 BB 0 R 0 ER 0 ERA 0.00
Tokano IP 1.2 BF 5 PC 24 H 0 HR 0 K 1 BB 0 R 0 ER 0 ERA 0.00


Powell (W, 1-0) IP 6.0 BF 25 PC 99 H 7 HR 2 K 10 BB 1 R 2 ER 2 ERA 3.00
Misawa IP 1.0 BF 3 PC 12 H 0 HR 0 K 1 BB 0 R 0 ER 0 ERA 0.00
H. Koike IP 0.2 BF 3 PC 16 H 1 HR 0 K 2 BB 0 R 0 ER 0 ERA 0.00
A. Okamoto IP 0.1 BF 1 PC 2 H 0 HR 0 K 0 BB 0 R 0 ER 0 ERA 0.00
Akahori IP 1.0 BF 6 PC 23 H 2 HR 1 K 0 BB 1 R 1 ER 1 ERA 9.00

E: Tani, Yoshii
SB: Tani, N. Omura, Rhodes
2B: T. Yamasaki, Rhodes, Isobe, K. Kawaguchi
3B: K. Hirano
HR: Ortiz (1), Matoyama (1), Hidaka (1), Katsuragi (1)
RBI: Ortiz, Katsuragi, Hidaka, Mizuguchi, Rhodes 2, K. Kawaguchi 2, Matoyama 2
WP: Akahori
LOB: Orix 8, Kintetsu 7

Season Series: Orix 0, Kintetsu 1

Game Time: 2:57
Attendance: 25,000
Umpires: Higashi (HP), Kakigizono (1B), Nagami (2B), Sato (3B)

Errors Undo Hodges, Swallows in 3-1 Loss

According to Swallows boss Tsutomu Wakamatsu, Kevin Hodges has trouble with Hiroshima. Friday at Meiji Jingu Stadium, Yakult suffered its first opening day defeat during Wakamatsu's tenure, as two errors in the third inning resulted in a 3-1 loss to ruin an otherwise strong performance by the ex-Mariner. Instead, Hiroki Kuroda earned the W with a complete game seven hitter during which he allowed just the one run.

Hodges had some control issues in the second when first baseman Takahiro Arai singled to center and leftfielder Tomonori Maeda and rightfielder Jimmy Hurst both walked to jam the basepaths. But Hodges wriggled out of it when third baseman Kenjiro Nomura's liner was snared by second baseman Noriyuki Shiroishi and catcher Shuji Nishiyama bounced into a 6-4-3 double play.

Yakult then went on top in the bottom segment when Shiroishi singled to right and was forced at second 1-4 by Hodges. Rightfielder Atsunori Inaba grounded into a 4-6 force, but subsequently went to third on a single to center by shortstop Shinya Miyamoto. First baseman Todd Betts collected his first Japan RBI when he beat out a little groundball toward first to make it 1-0 Swallows.

That lead went up in smoke, however, in the fourth. With one away, Arai drilled a shot to center that bounded over the fence for a ground rule double. Maeda laid down a sacrifice bunt, but Hodges fumbled it for an error and now it was runners on first and third. Hurst got a slider down and away and hit it off the end of the bat, parachuting it into center for a single to redeem Arai. Nomura also got it off the end of the bat and threaded it back up the middle and Maeda made for the plate with the lead run. Nishiyama grounded to gold glove third baseman Akinori Iwamura, who threw it away and Hurst scooted in for a 3-1 Carp lead.

Kuroda, who was clocked at a high of 94mph, permitted just three hits the rest of the way while mixing his fastball, forkball and slider effectively to put it in the bank.

Yakult got some really bad news, though, when Akinori Iwamura hurt his wrist while striking out in the ninth and a sprain with tissue damage is suspected. A further exam will be done Saturday.

Incredibly, despite a broken finger on his throwing hand, Atsuya Furuta started behind the plate and went 0-4. Wow!

For Hiroshima, Hurst was 1-3 with a walk and an RBI and is at .333. Shortstop Andy Sheets was 0-4 and is at .000.

For Yakult, Betts was 2-4 with an RBI and is at .500. Leftfielder Alex Ramirez was 0-4 and he is at .000.

Pitching Lines:


Kuroda (W, 1-0) IP 9.0 BF 33 PC 102 H 7 HR 0 K 5 BB 0 R 1 ER 1 ERA 1.00


Hodges (L, 0-1) IP 7.0 BF 28 PC 93 H 4 HR 0 K 3 BB 2 R 3 ER 1 ERA 1.29
Kawabata IP 1.0 BF 93 PC 18 H 1 HR 0 K 2 BB 1 R 0 ER 0 ERA 0.00
Tat. Yamamoto IP 1.0 BF 3 PC 9 H 0 HR 0 K 1 BB 0 R 0 ER 0 ERA 0.00

2B: T. Arai, Inaba, Ogata, Betts
RBI: Hurst, K. Nomura, Betts
IBB: T. Maeda (Kawabata)
WP: Hodges
PB: Furuta
GIDP: S. Nishiyama, S. Miyamoto
LOB: Hiroshima 6, Yakult 5

Season Series: Hiroshima 1, Yakult 0

Game Time: 2:29
Attendance: 32,000
Umpires: Kittaka (HP), Tomoyose (1B), Uemoto (2B), Arisumi (3B)

Team Reports

Seibu First baseman Alex Cabrera was taken off the roster due to persistent pain in his shoulder. He has to stay down on the farm at least until April 7th under Japanese rules.

Hideki Matsui From the Billings Gazette comes this item about Matsui baseball cards: "He doesn't have many out there yet," said [Talkin' Baseball card shop owner Joe] Dooley. "Out of the (Upper Deck) Sweet Spot Classics, I think there's 1,999 of his rookie card and that's it...."If he does like Ichiro did, it's going to be another year like 2001," said Dooley. "His stuff is going to be phenomenal"....Matsui was named the best rookie in camp by Yankees writers Friday....Matsui had his third multihit game in a row Friday, as he went 2-5 , both knocks singles, to raise his spring average to .338. For those of you in Japan contemplating coming over to watch Matsui faceoff against Ichiro on May 6th at (insurance company name) Field, Kinki Nihon Tourist is readying a tour to that game, as well as the 7th and 8th. Cost is 99, 800 yen per person (about $750) and is limited to 20 people. For those interested, the phone number is (03) 3341-0601.

Koshien Tournament Masaaki Honda of Chiben Wakayama High School became just the 14th player to drill a walkoff homer in Koshien High School Baseball Tournament history Friday when he went deep against Urawa Gakuin ace Hideki Sunaga on a fastball that was up and middle in for a 7-6 victory. They now move on to the final group of eight. Sunaga went all the way and threw 222 pitches before serving up the dinger. He was clocked at 87mph....In other action, Toin Gakuen High School was victimized by a complete game shutout from Naruto Kogyo High School hurler Tani in a 5-0 loss. Tani scattered five hits and struckout eight to move to the group of eight....Tokushima Shogyo High School coalesced for a five run rally in the fourth and then added a solo belt to left by third baseman Doi in the seventh for an eventual 6-1 triumph over Fujishiro High to grab a berth in the quarterfinals. It is the first time in 54 years that Tokushima Shogyo has gotten that far in Koshien play.

Miscellaneous The MLB players' union are looking at proposal to stage a U.S. against the world all star extravaganza, though whether this would be just one game or an entire series isn't really spelled out in the San Diego Union-Tribune blurb I saw this in. I'm on board for it. Here's to hoping it happens....Tsuyoshi Shinjo had an infield hit in his one at bat Saturday to raise his spring average to .433.

Today's Pictures

Trey Hillman is Congratulated on His First Regular Season Victory by Coach Yukio Tanaka

Hillman Greets Tomochika Tsuboi After He Scores on Akune's Double

Hillman Congratulated by Coach Shirai

Masaaki Honda Jacks it into the Leftfield Bleachers to Decide it

Alex Ochoa Going Yard

Kazumi Saito Delivers to the Plate

Pedro Valdez Greeted by an Elated Oh After Playing Some Hammertime

Nate Minchey Coming at You Live

Jim Allen Breaks Down the New Season

See story at: Yomiuri Shimbun Article

Tuffy Rhodes on Playing in Japan

See story at: Yomiuri Shimbun Article

Matsui Signing an Ultimatum to Torre: Win or Else

See story at: ESPN Article

Torre: Matsui "a Workaholic"

See story at: North Article

Matsui a Defensive Upgrade Over White

See story at: NY Post Article

Yomiuri Lineup a "Patchwork Quilt"

See story at: Yomiuri Shimbun Article

Woods Grateful for Chance Given to Him by Koreans

See story at: Yomiuri Shimbun Article

The International Pastime

See story at: Washington Post Article

JAL Becomes MLB Sponsor

See story at: Japan Today Article

Sapporo Begins Countdown for Fighters Move

See story at: Yomiuri Shimbun Article

Takahashi Takes on New Responsibilities for Giants

See story at: Yomiuri Shimbun Article

Replies: 1 Comment

i am trying to keep up on tuffy rhodes can someone please help me out? thx

Posted by tony @ 04/04/2003 09:07 PM EST

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