Ryoya Kurihara homered for the second straight day to lead the SoftBank Hawks' offense in a 7-0 Pacific League win Saturday over the Lotte Marines.
Kurihara, whose rising star took a hit last year with season-ending knee surgery in April, opened the scoring with a fourth-inning solo homer, singled twice, walked and drove in three runs.
The Hawks, who lost ace pitcher Kodai Senga to MLB via free agency, posted their second straight shutout thanks to seven innings from Koya Fujii (1-0). Making his first career start, the right-hander struck out nine while walking two and surrendering two hits.
"I was plenty nervous but managed to make my pitches," Fujii said.
Marines starter Atsuki Taneichi (0-1) struck out the first five batters he faced and fanned 10 over four innings. He allowed one run, on Kurihara's homer.
Elsewhere in the PL, the Japan Series champion Orix Buffaloes kept pace with the Hawks, beating the Seibu Lions, 9-2, while Kotaro Kiyomiya's game-winning hit lifted the Nippon Ham Fighters to a 10-inning 4-3 walk-off win over the Rakuten Eagles.
In the Central League, the two-time defending champion Yakult Swallows improved to 2-0 with a 1-0 win over the Hiroshima Carp behind Jose Osuna's second homer.
The Yomiuri Giants bounced back from an opening day loss in a 2-0 win over the Chunichi Dragons, getting seven innings from new import Foster Griffin (1-0), while Sho Nakata hit his second homer and drove in two runs.
The Hanshin Tigers remained unbeaten when Koji Chikamoto's 12th-inning two-out RBI single lifted them to a 6-5 walk-off win over the DeNA BayStars.