Sports

Cubs’ Seiya Suzuki hits two solo homers against Pirates


The Chicago Cubs’ off-season acquisition of Seiya Suzuki is paying big dividends already with the Japanese slugger homering in back-to-back at-bats in the team’s 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday.

In the fourth regular season game of his major league career, the 27-year-old, who joined the Cubs last month, hit a solo home run off Jose Quintana (0-1) in the fifth inning and another off Anthony Banda in the seventh for the visitors’ only runs at PNC Park.

“I can’t tell if I’m in good form or not but I was able to bring home runs and help the team win so I’m really happy about that,” Suzuki said.

Suzuki now has three homers in the last two games after he also went deep in Sunday’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Cubs made a big bet on their future when they signed Suzuki to a five-year, $85 million deal from the Hiroshima Carp.

On Tuesday, Suzuki, a right-handed power hitter, homered off two Pirates lefties, drilling a 3-2 fastball by Quintana 397 feet to right-center and Banda’s 0-1 fastball 398 feet to left.

He flied out and struck out swinging in his other at-bats and improved his batting average to.417 in 12 plate appearances.

Cubs starter Drew Smyly (1-0) pitched five scoreless innings for the win.

Pirates first baseman Yoshitomo Tsutsugo, who batted cleanup and went 0-for-4, said he had not seen his countryman Suzuki in person since 2019 and that he took inspiration from his former Samurai Japan teammate’s performance.

“I was happy for him, regardless of the fact that he’s on the opposing team,” Tsutsugo said.

“When you see another Japanese player doing well in U.S. (baseball) it can make us feel closer.”

Elsewhere, Yusei Kikuchi (0-1) was tagged with the loss in his first start of 2022 as the New York Yankees blanked the Toronto Blue Jays 4-0 at Yankee Stadium. Kikuchi lasted just 3⅓ innings, giving up three runs, five hits and two walks while striking out two.

At Angel Stadium, Shohei Ohtani went 1-for-4 with three strikeouts as the Los Angeles Angels won 4-3 against the Miami Marlins in walk-off fashion to sweep the two-game series.

At Oracle Park, Yu Darvish (0-1) gave up nine runs and eight hits and was knocked out in a career-worst 1-2/3 innings in his second start for the San Diego Padres, who were hammered 13-2 by the San Francisco Giants.

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