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Cubs starter Shota Imanaga dazzles in MLB debut with 9 strikeouts in 6 shutout innings vs. Rockies

This is how to make a first impression.

Shota Imanaga was sensational in his MLB debut on Monday with the Chicago Cubs. The 30-year-old rookie struck out nine Colorado Rockies batters and walked none in six innings of shutout work in a 5-0 Cubs win at Wrigley Field.

Imanaga started his MLB career inducing a fly-out from outfielder Charlie Blackmon. He then induced a swinging third strike from second baseman Brendan Rodgers on a splitter that tumbled below the zone for the first strikeout of his MLB career.

Kris Bryant reached base off Imanaga on an error to lead off the second inning. Imanaga then struck out consecutive batters before getting out of the inning unscathed.

Imanaga didn't allow his first hit until Blackmon singled to centerfield with two outs in the sixth inning. He closed out the inning with a strikeout of Nolan Jones to end his day on the mound. Yency Almonte took over in relief in the seventh as the Cubs bullpen completed the shutout win.

Imanaga's final line reads: six innings pitched, two hits allowed, zero runs allowed, zero walks allowed and nine strikeouts. Sixty-two of his 95 pitches thrown were thrown for strikes. He made Cubs and MLB history in the process.

Per MLB Network's Sarah Langs, Imanaga's 5 2/3 innings tied for the longest no-hit bid by a Cubs pitcher in his MLB debut since 1920. He matched an effort by Amaury Telemaco in 1996.

Imanaga also tied the MLB record since 1901 for most strikeouts without a walk or run allowed in his MLB debut. Nick Kingham did the same in his 2018 debut with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Cubs surely couldn't have imagined a better debut for Imanga when they signed him in the offseason.

The Cubs signed Imanaga to a four-year, $53 million contract in January that could extend to five years and $80 million. He joined the Cubs from the Yokohama BayStars of the Japan Central League.

Imanaga posted a 2.80 ERA in 22 starts for Yokohama last season. He led the Japan Central League with 174 strikeouts and walked 24 batters in 148 innings. He had a rough spring training with a 2-2 record and 5.68 ERA in the Cactus League. But he was more than ready for his MLB debut on Monday.