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NPB news: April 1, 2022

The Rakuten Eagles were forced to scrounge for players on Friday, when six players were deactivated after testing positive for the coronavirus, while the Hanshin Tigers and Yomiuri Giants put on an old-school look as they opened the 2022 version of their rivalry that dates back to 1936.

Ready? Let’s go.

Giants 6, Tigers 5: Harking back to the day when the Giants and Tigers were Japan’s best teams during the first three years of Japan’s first pro baseball league, the clubs wore 1936 throwback uniforms at Tokyo Dome on Friday.

The old look didn’t help Hanshin, whose starting pitcher Shintaro Fujinami (0-1) gave away six runs through the first four innings as they fell to a franchise-worst seven straight losses to start the season.

Giants ace Tomoyuki Sugano (2-0) struck out nine while allowing three runs on seven hits and seven walks over seven innings.

Sugano started the game with three straight strikeouts, while Hayato Sakamoto and Gregory Polanco hit back-to-back first-inning home runs for the Giants. Takumi Oshiro’s homer made it 3-0 in the second.

Shortstop Takumu Nakano‘s effort to throw out the leadoff runner on a slow chopper in the third resulted in an error, but the two-runs worth of damage Fujinami suffered was self-inflicted.

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