Shota Imanaga makes Cubs history in MLB debut start

Shota Imanaga makes Cubs history in MLB debut start originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Chicago Cubs pitcher Shota Imanaga dazzled fans at the Friendly Confines on Monday against the Colorado Rockies, and he turned in an historic performance in the home opener.

Imanaga pitched six innings in his debut, striking out nine Rockies batters while giving up just two hits and zero runs in the contest.

Imanaga even carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning of the game, which was broken up by a two-out single by Charlie Blackmon.

According to Stathead, Imanaga made Cubs history in the game, becoming the first pitcher to strike out at least nine batters, allow two or fewer hits and allow zero runs in their debut start for the North Siders.

What’s more, he became just the sixth pitcher in MLB history to hit those numbers, becoming the first since Pittsburgh’s Nick Kingham did so in 2018. Imanaga also joined Kingham as the only pitchers to strike out nine or more batters while allowing zero walks or runs in their MLB debuts, according to Stats Inc.

Finally, Sarah Langs reports that Imanaga’s 5.2 inning no-hitter bid was the longest by a Cubs pitcher in his MLB debut since Amaury Telemaco went the same amount of time in a May 1996 debut start.

By throwing his first pitch, Imanaga also became the first Cubs player to make his MLB debut as the team’s starter for a home opener, according to the team.

By virtue of his performance, Imanaga was left in line to win after Christopher Morel drove in the game’s first runs in the sixth inning.

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