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Thursday, December 01, 2022

Japanese pitcher ends perfection for Sasaki – on the first pitch

TOKYO ( Associated Press) — Chiba Lotte Marine’s Japanese pitcher Roki Sasaki is mortal, after all.

After throwing a perfect game on April 10 – the first in Japanese baseball in 28 years – and eight perfect innings on April 17 before being pulled after 102 pitches, Sasaki dropped a hit on his first pitch on Sunday against the Oryx Buffalo .

The game was played at the Kyocera Dome in Osaka.

Shuhei Fukuda struck Sasaki’s first pitch, ending a streak of 52 batsmen retiring. Sasaki also faced 27 in the perfect game, another 24 in eight-inning outings, and the last batsman in the game before the perfect game.

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In perfect play, and in eight innings of perfection, Sasaki made 33 strikeouts facing 51 batsmen.

Sasaki worked in five innings in Chiba Lotte’s 6-3 win on Sunday and the credit for the win went to him. He conceded two runs, scored three runs, struck two batsmen and conceded six hits. He had only four strikeouts.

The 20-year-old righthander has made headlines over the past several weeks for using a 100-mph fastball and a rogue splitter to keep batsmen off balance.

It seems unlikely that he will be signing with any MLB team in the near future. Stories in Japan say that he is unlikely to be posted for MLB clubs. Players are not required to go through a posting system if they have lasted long enough to become free agents in Japanese baseball.

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Sasaki grew up in the northeastern Japanese prefecture of Iwate. His father was killed in the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and subsequent melting of three nuclear reactors that devastated that part of the country.

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