Hanshin Tigers rookie Shoki Murakami outpitched Orix Buffaloes ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto, leading the Central League champs to an 8-0 Japan Series Game 1 victory Saturday.

Murakami allowed just two hits over seven innings at Kyocera Dome Osaka, where Game 2 will be played Sunday before the series moves on to Hanshin's Koshien Stadium in neighboring Hyogo Prefecture for Tuesday for the next three games of the best-of-seven series.

Orix Buffaloes pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto gives up a two-run triple to Hanshin Tigers leadoff man Koji Chikamoto in the fifth inning in Game 1 of the Japan Series at Kyocera Dome Osaka on Oct. 28, 2023. (Kyodo)

"I felt a good kind of nerves. I was able to turn it to my advantage," Murakami said. "From the start, my focus was on maintaining a good tempo. When we got a big lead, that made it easier to fall back on focusing on my tempo."

Yamamoto, who has led the Pacific League in ERA, wins, strikeouts and winning percentage the past three years, and who may be pitching in his final games for the PL champions if he is posted to MLB this year, had shut out the Tigers in interleague against Murakami, but could not repeat the feat.

Tigers skipper Akinobu Okada said the offensive explosion was not a team thing but up to the individuals.

"He shut us out in interleague, and sure we looked at video, but this was due to each individual doing on his own what he needed to do to hit."

Koji Chikamoto and Takumu Nakano, hitting leadoff and second in Hanshin's lineup, each had three hits and two RBIs.

The Tigers' Teruaki Sato broke the ice in the fifth. He led off with a single, stole second, took third on a fly out and scored on Ryo Watanabe's flare single.

Watanabe and Seiya Kinami, who followed with a single, scored on a three-bagger by CL triples leader Chikamoto, who came home on a Nakano single.

CL on-base percentage leader Yusuke Oyama sparked a three-run sixth with a leadoff walk as the Tigers chased Yamamoto, who allowed seven runs in 5-2/3 innings on 10 hits and a walk while striking out seven.

Shoki Murakami of the Hanshin Tigers pitches against the Orix Buffaloes in Game 1 of the Japan Series at Kyocera Dome Osaka on Oct. 28, 2023.

Both starting pitchers faced the minimum nine hitters through three innings before an infield single and an error forced Yamamoto to pitch out of trouble in the fourth.

Murakami did not allow a runner until he had a four-run lead. Tomoya Mori's leadoff ground-rule double in the fifth was the Buffaloes' first hit off the right-hander.

Murakami also won an epic at-bat with Marwin Gonzalez that led to Orix stranding two. In the seventh, he picked up where he left off with an easy three-batter inning.

"That was a tight spot. It just about killed me. He hung in there so well. But with four runs, I was only focused on not giving up the lead," Murakami said.

The Hanshin Tigers (L) and Orix Buffaloes line up before Game 1 of the Japan Series at Kyocera Dome Osaka on Oct. 28, 2023. (Kyodo)

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