Roki Sasaki’s second straight gem can’t prevent Marines’ defeat

A week after throwing Japan’s first perfect game in 28 years, 20-year-old Roki Sasaki delivered an eight-perfect-inning encore Sunday for the Chiba Lotte Marines in a 1-0, 10-inning Pacific League loss to the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters.

After 102 pitches at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium outside Tokyo, and striking out 14 of the 24 batters he faced and retired, Sasaki did not go out to the mound for another shot at history.

Marines closer Naoya Masuda worked a scoreless ninth, but Chusei Mannami took Yuji Nishino (1-2) over the wall in center for the Fighters’ first hit and the game’s first run. It was Mannami’s third home run of the season.

“This was so exciting, I don’t have words,” Mannami said. “Our guys just hung in there, and we kept saying on the bench let’s get something going.”

“He (Sasaki) is just too tough. The way that forkball drops? Forget about it.”

Fighters right-hander Naoyuki Uwasawa held the Marines scoreless for seven innings on four hits, a walk and a hit batsman while striking out eight. Lefty Mizuki Hori’s scoreless eighth inning prevented Sasaki from earning a win.

Hard-throwing rookie Koki Kitayama (3-0) pitched out of a tight spot in the ninth to send the game to extra innings and earn the win. Veteran side-arm lefty Naoki Miyanishi stranded two runners in the 10th to earn his first save.

Elsewhere, the Orix Buffaloes beat the Seibu Lions 4-3, while the Rakuten Eagles routed the SoftBank Hawks 14-4.

In the Central League, the Yomiuri Giants came from behind in a 3-1 win that snapped the Hanshin Tigers’ first win streak of the season, while the Chunichi Dragons hammered the Hiroshima Carp 10-4.

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