Chiba Lotte Marines’ Roki Sasaki (21) lost his start against Hanshin Tigers’ Hiroto Saiki (25).

Sasaki started the game against Hanshin on April 4 at Koshien Stadium in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan, giving up one run on six hits and four walks with 10 strikeouts in six innings.

Sasaki, who burst onto the national scene last year when he became the youngest pitcher in Nippon Professional Baseball history to throw a perfect game, has been outstanding this season, going 4-1 with a 1.23 ERA in seven games (44 innings). In this game, however, he took the loss despite pitching a dominant game with his fastball reaching up to 163 kilometers per hour. That’s because Hanshin starter Saiki pitched a complete game shutout.

A right-hander in his seventh year of 메이저사이트 professional baseball, Saiki is 16-15 with a 3.08 ERA in 44 career games (198⅔ innings pitched). He hasn’t had a full season yet. Even this season, he started the season with six starts before being dropped to the second team.

However, since returning to the first team, he has pitched exceptionally well. His season record is 4-3 with a 1.74 ERA in eight games (51⅔ innings). In this game, he pitched 9 innings, 3 hits, 1 walk, 12 strikeouts, and a no-hitter against Japan’s top ace, Sasaki.

Japanese outlet Daily Sports said, “He beat a monster against Reiwa. Saiki pitched a three-hit shutout against Sasaki. He struck out a career-high 12 batters with his hard-hitting fastball. Saiki was the last pitcher on the mound. “It was a hard-fought battle, and I beat Reiwa’s monster,” he said of his shutout.

“I was so nervous at the end, but I’m glad it was a no-hitter,” Saiki said. “The fastball is everything. The deciding pitch is a fastball, not a fork. I don’t have many pitches and I feel like a reliever is pitching like a starter.”

On the day, Saiki’s fastball touched 153 kilometers. It was 10 kilometers slower than Sasaki’s 163 kilometers, but he was the pitcher who stayed on the mound until the end.

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