TOKYO -- Just one series into his career in Japan, Kila Ka'aihue of the Hiroshima Carp looks like he’s going to make waves on this side of the ocean.
Ka'aihue socked a pair of longballs to give him four in three games, and drove in six runs on Thursday as the Carp thumped the Yokohama BayStars 7-3 in Central League action at Yokohama Stadium.
The former Oakland Athletic, who went 1-for-3 in the second game of the MLB Opening Series at Tokyo Dome last season, is 5-for-12 (four homers) with 10 RBIs in his first three games in Japan. He singled to right in the first with two out, and homered in both the third and fourth innings to help stake the Carp to a 6-0 lead.
“My first at-bat was a little lucky; I’m glad it found a hole and got us a lead,” Ka'aihue said in the on-field postgame interview. “And then the next two at-bats were just great -- I got good pitches to hit and I didn’t miss them.”
Ka'aihue went into team mode after that, praising starter Bryan Bullington (4-7) (three runs allowed over seven innings) and the rest of a group of teammates the 29-year-old joined on June 18. But he also acknowledged the great start to his career here.
“It was a great series -- a good three days. [It’s] a great place to hit,” said Ka’aihue, whose six-RBI game was the highest by a Carp player since Jun Hirose knocked in a half-dozen last year. “I’m excited to be here and I’m glad that the Carp are giving me this opportunity. I hope it continues and I hope we win a lot of games.”
“Kila nearly did it all tonight,” Yokohama skipper Kiyoshi Nakahata said. “But we allowed him to get going and the reason we lost is because we threw him pitches that should have been hit. We just couldn’t keep him under control.”
NOTES FROM AROUND NPB
Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters rookie two-way phenom Shohei Otani has been sidelined after taking a fly ball off the side of his head during batting practice before a game against the Tohoku Rakuten Eagles at Kleenex Stadium.
Otani was walking toward the right-field foul line when a lazy fly ball surprised him near his right temple.
The 19-year-old was scratched from the lineup as a precaution, and X-rays later revealed a minor fracture of the upper cheekbone. He has been instructed to avoid activity for three days.
In the “Plus One” All-Star voting, second-year infielder Shota Dobayashi of the Hiroshima Carp was added to the CL squad, while outfielder Seiichi Uchikawa of the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks earned the Pacific League selection from fans.
Nyjer Morgan of the BayStars was third in the CL voting.