April 28, 2022

Rōki Sasaki's Streak Of 52 Consecutive Batters Retired Ends On First Pitch Of April 24 Start

Rōki Sasaki, the 20-year-old pitching phenom for Chiba Lotte Marines (Nippon Pro Baseball), saw his streak of 52 consecutive batters retired come to an abrupt end in his most recent start. On April 24, Shuhei Fukuda, leading off for the Orix Buffaloes, the victims of Sasaki's perfect game two weeks earlier, singled on the first pitch of the game

Sasaki's pitching line in Chiba Lotte's 6-3 win was nothing you'd look twice at: 5-6-2-3-4. He also hit two batters.

On April 10, he pitched the first NPB perfect game in 28 years, striking out 19 Orix Buffaloes (including 13 in a row). The 19 strikeouts tied a record; the 13 consecutive Ks shattered the old NPB record of nine. Sasaki struck out Orix's 3-4-5 hitters in all nine of their plate appearances. Sasaki (whose fastball was clocked at 101.9 mph earlier this season) was also the youngest pitcher in NPB history to throw a perfect game.

In his next start, on April 16, Sasaki pitched eight perfect innings against the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters (with 14 strikeouts) before being pulled after 102 pitches. The game was scoreless at that point; Chiba Lotte lost 1-0 in extra innings.

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