Congrats to Kuroda for his 200th win!
Well, it's 5am and I've got the A/C on...summer is officially here...ha ha! If you're looking for a break from the heat and humidity, you'd better plan a trip to Hokkaido, because you won't be getting it here in Hiroshima. We can expect the hot, humid weather to continue for the foreseeable future.
Hiroki Kuroda picked up his 200th career win in top-flight pro ball after keeping the Hanshin Tigers off the scoreboard through seven innings in the Hiroshima Carp’s 7-0 win yesterday.
Kuroda (7-5), who lost his two starts earlier this month while trying to hit the magical number of 200 wins, finally reached the milestone before a raucous home crowd of 32,075 at Mazda Stadium. The former Los Angeles Dodger and New York Yankee held Hanshin to five hits and three walks, while striking out nine in his 115-pitch outing.
“I’m really relieved more than anything. I went in determined to get it done today,” Kuroda said. “The fans always give me the courage to go on to the mound even when I’m about to give way. I could feel my teammates willing to get me the win, too. Although most of them are youngsters, they carried me.”
Hiroshima’s high-powered attack provided him with a quick lead in the first, Hector Luna slugging a three-run homer off Suguru Iwazaki (1-4) after the lefty issued two no-out walks.
Kuroda surrendered leadoff singles three times, but was rarely threatened, while Iwazaki gave up four more runs in the fourth.
“This really isn’t sinking in, I’ve never expected a day like this to arrive, especially here at Mazda Stadium after leaving for America all those years go,” said Kuroda, who added that he is expecting big things this season with the Carp — who have not won a pennant since 1991.
“The difference between the 199th win and the 200th is just one win for me, and I’ll now aim for the 201st. This team is the best I’ve played on in 20 years, a really good team not just with the regulars but also those on the bench. I want to win the league with them.”
The 41-year-old started his career with the Carp in 1997 before moving to the Dodgers in 2008. He has a 121-102 record in Nippon Professional Baseball and went 79-79 in the majors.
The veteran right-hander returned to Hiroshima last year and went 11-8 with a 2.55 ERA. He becomes the second Carp pitcher to win 200 career games after Hall of Famer Manabu Kitabeppu, who had a 213-141 record between 1976 and 1994.
With this news, I've decided on which Carp jersey I want to get...a Kitabeppu one! Not that it looks like I'm going to need it this year...
Have a great day!