Shota Imanaga flirted with a no-hitter and struck out nine as he led the Chicago Cubs to a 5-0 win over the Colorado Rockies in a sensational Major League Baseball debut on Monday.

The 30-year-old Japanese lefty allowed just two hits and no walks over six shutout innings in the Cubs' home opener at Wrigley Field.

The only blemish through his first five innings came when Kris Bryant reached base on an error to lead off the second. Imanaga retired the next 14 batters and did not allow his first hit until Charlie Blackmon singled to center field with two outs in the sixth.

Shota Imanaga of the Chicago Cubs pitches against the Colorado Rockies in a baseball game at Wrigley Field in Chicago on April 1, 2024. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

The former DeNA BayStars standout struck out Nolan Jones swinging to complete his memorable outing, shouting as he bounced off the mound to a standing ovation from the energized home crowd.

"I achieved what I set out to do on the mound. The results came from that," Imanaga said.

"I wanted to give fans (back in Japan) who've watched me through tough times something to be happy about when they woke up in the morning."

Shota Imanaga of the Chicago Cubs reacts after striking out Nolan Jones of the Colorado Rockies in the sixth inning of a baseball game at Wrigley Field in Chicago on April 1, 2024. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

Compatriot Seiya Suzuki went 1-for-3 with a single that came during a three-run rally for the Cubs in the bottom of the sixth.

Christopher Morel broke the deadlock with a single with Ian Happ and Suzuki on base. His ground ball escaped the glove of left fielder Nolan Jones, allowing both runners and Morel to reach home for a 3-0 lead.

Chicago manager Craig Counsell said Imanaga showed the poise that made him a successful pro before signing a four-year deal worth a reported $53 million with the Cubs this offseason.

"It was clear that this is a player who's been in big moments," Counsell said. "He's been through this before.

Chicago Cubs left-hander Shota Imanaga (C) is greeted by teammates in the dugout after throwing six scoreless innings against the Colorado Rockies in his Major League Baseball debut at Wrigley Field in Chicago on April 1, 2024. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

Imanaga, who threw 65 of his 92 pitches for strikes, said the raucous home crowd had lifted him during his debut, particularly when he needed the final out to end the sixth with two runners on.

"It was a really unique atmosphere, and as I was in a pinch and thought I might be leaving the mound that inning, I threw it with all the strength I had left," he said.

"It was a hittable pitch and the power wasn't great, but I think the cheering from the Cubs fans helped carry it to the catcher's mitt."

Seiya Suzuki of the Chicago Cubs hits a single in the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies at Wrigley Field in Chicago on April 1, 2024. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

The Fukuoka Prefecture native was wary of getting carried away by his initial success and predicted there would also be some difficult moments over the course of the long MLB season.

"If we use the analogy of sailing, we've only just unmoored the ship. There are still more than 150 games left, and I definitely don't feel like I can do it easily," Imanaga said.

"There will still be some tough times ahead. Today I'm savoring the moment, but I want to get focused again."

In other MLB action, Shohei Ohtani went 1-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored in the Los Angeles Dodgers' 8-3 win over the San Francisco Giants. Ohtani drove in the opening run with a groundout in the bottom of the first at Dodger Stadium and hit a groundball double in the third.

Houston Astros right-hander Ronel Blanco threw the first no-hitter of the season and the 17th in franchise history, walking two batters and striking out seven in a 10-0 win over the Toronto Blue Jays at Minute Maid Park.

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