Shohei Otani led off today’s game against the Softbank Hawks with the first lead-off home run of his career. He hit the very first pitch of the game over the fence in right.
[UPDATE 7/4 @ 9:50pm]
Otani is the third pitcher in NPB history to start a game and bat lead-off. The other two: Yoshiaki Toyama on August 22, 1971 (five runs on four hits, partway through the second inning and 0-for-1) and Den Yamada on August 14, 1944 (four hit, nine-inning shutout and 3-for-5 with two RBI). Only two MLB players (not pitchers) have accomplished the feat: Alvin Dark on September 27, 1953 (one inning, two runs, shift to third base in second inning) and Cesar Tovar on September 22, 1968 (played multiple positions, changing one per inning).