“Perfect Pitcher” Roki Sasaki, 21, threw a three-inning perfect game in the postseason.
Sasaki started Game 1 of the Pacific League Climax Series against the SoftBank Hawks on Thursday at ZOZO Marine Stadium in Chiba, Japan.
Chiba Lotte improved to 70-58 (.5072 winning percentage) and finished second in the league by one game over third-place SoftBank 71-39 (.5071 winning percentage).
Sasaki appeared in 15 games this season, going 7-4 with a 1.78 ERA. Injuries have kept him out of many games. In May, he was sidelined for three weeks with a blistered finger.
Then, in his first start of the second half, on July 24 against SoftBank, he suffered a side injury that sidelined him for two months. He returned on September 10 against the Orix with a faster-than-expected rehabilitation, but he was not fully healthy and only pitched three innings in each of his two starts.
On September 24, he was unable to pitch against Softbank due to a fever and was eventually removed from the roster due to COVID-19. He ended his season early and has been preparing for a postseason appearance.
Sasaki faced the first batter he faced against SoftBank in the first inning and threw a 161-kilometer fastball that was hit by a pitch. He followed with a grounder to the second baseman and a swinging strikeout to end the inning.
In the second inning, he topped out at 162 mph and ended the inning with a strikeout, a fly ball to center field, and a grounder to shortstop. In the third, he got back-to-back strikeouts with a forked ball and retired nine straight batters on a fly ball to center field.
He was removed in the fourth inning with a 4-0 lead. Sasaki threw 41 pitches in three innings, allowing no hits, no walks and four strikeouts. His fastball touched 162 mph twice.
Chiba Lotte got a leadoff home run in the first inning from top hitter Takashi Ogino. Two batters later, Polanco, the Pacific League’s co-leader in home runs, blasted a solo shot over the right field fence for a 2-0 lead.
Lotte Chiba drew three walks to load the bases with one out in the third. SoftBank pulled starter Stewart and brought up Hernandez in relief. A throwing error by the second baseman, who was trying to make a double play on a grounder to shortstop, allowed two runners to score. 4-0.
SoftBank cut it to 4-2 in the sixth when Yuki Yanagita hit a two-run home run with one out. 메이저놀이터
Chiba Lotte answered right back in the bottom of the sixth, scoring three runs on four hits to take a 7-2 lead. Chiba Lotte added one more run in the bottom of the eighth to win 8-2.