(His 10th of the season.)
Japanese phenom, Shohei Otani (大谷 翔平), blasted his 10th homerun this season, facing against the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks in Yahuoku! Dome, 2 days ago… DHing, and batting in the lead-off spot, Otani blasted one to deep right on the first pitch he sees from Softbank Hawks starting pitcher, Kenichi Nakata, giving the Fighters a 1-0 lead in the first, Shohei Otani finished the game going 1 for 2 with 3 walks (one intentional)… Also note, knowing that both teams play in the Pacific League (where the DH rule is currently in effect), Hideki Kuriyama, the Fighters’ manager, gave up the DH spot in that game in order for Otani to bat… The second time the Fighters’ have done this year, since May 30th, facing the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles at Kobo Stadium. Otani, also, now owns a batting line of .341 avg/.659 slg/.450 obp in the year.
Of course, the story didn’t end there. The 22 year old phenom, Shohei Otani, threw 8 scoreless innings in that game, 120 pitches thrown, 10 strikeouts, and just 2 walks in a 2-0 win… lowering his ERA to 1.90 now this season.
Some pretty cool history were made, too, in this game…
With Shohei Otani batting lead-off and to start a game, only 2 players, so far, in MLB history (who aren’t pitchers) have done this, Alvin Dark, in September 27 year 1953 with the New York Giants… Alvin pitched an inning but gave up two runs in the first, he eventually moved to 3rd base in the second inning… and the last player in that list is… Cesar Tovar, September 22, year 1968 playing for the Minnesota Twins (here’s a video for that in which he played 9 positions in a single game).
In NPB history, he is just the 3rd only recorded player, so far, to have accomplished this feat. The other players are Den Yamada, in August 14 year 1944 playing for the Hankyu Braves (now the Orix Buffaloes), he pitched 9 innings giving up no runs on 4 hits, he finished the game going 3 for 5… and Yoshiaki Toyama, in August 22, year 1971 playing for the Yakult Atoms (now the Tokyo Yakult Swallow), he pitched 2 innings while giving up 5 runs on 4 hits, he moved over to right field in the 3rd.