Kenta Maeda took the mound Wednesday night at Petco Park for his Major League debut and looking to extend the string of impressive performances from Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitchers.
Clayton Kershaw had nine strikeouts and threw seven scoreless innings on Opening Day, which Scott Kazmir followed by throwing six scoreless frames and tallying five strikeouts. Maeda got off to strong start as he only faced one over the minimum through three innings.
Maeda flashed the same movement and command that drew rave reviews during Spring Training, while the San Diego Padres scoreless streak this continued to grow.
However, for as much as Wednesday was about Maeda’s performance on the mound, the attention quickly turned to his success at the plate as be clubbed a solo home run off Andrew Cashner in the fourth inning after rushing up to bat:
The solo home run extended the Dodgers’ lead to 5-0, and gave Maeda the team lead this season with one home run. Additionally, the Japanese native became the first foreign-born pitcher to hit a homer in his MLB debut.
Maeda was a career .147/.174/.200 batter in eight seasons with the Hiroshima Carp, with 15 doubles and two home runs. One homer came in his rookie season, with the other in 2015.