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Sasaki Gets the Better of Yamamoto in Marquee Showdown of NPB's Best Pitchers

The hard-throwing right-hander struck out 11 batters and gave up just one hit as the Chiba Lotte Marines beat the reigning NPB champion Orix Buffaloes 2-0.

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NPB's best pitchers
Chiba Lotte Marines starter Roki Sasaki fires a pitch to an Orix Buffaloes batter on April 14 at ZOZO Marine Stadium. (KYODO)

Read the full story on SportsLook - Sasaki Gets the Better of Yamamoto in Marquee Showdown of NPB's Best Pitchers

Roki Sasaki outdueled Yoshinobu Yamamoto as the Chiba Lotte Marines beat the Orix Buffaloes 2-0 on Friday, April 14 in a showdown of NPB's best pitchers.

Playing before a crowd of 29,088 at ZOZO Marine Stadium, Sasaki was more dominant at the outset, retiring the side in order through the first five innings when he had 10 strikeouts.

Yamamoto was not as sharp. He gave up a double to Shogo Nakamura in the first inning and another two-bagger to Hisanori Yasuda in the second.

It was the first NPB matchup of the two pitching stars.

"I fought with him in the WBC, and he's always a kind senpai (senior colleague)" Sasaki was quoted as saying by Daily Sports.

Sasaki added, "I'm really happy to have the opportunity to throw [against] each other like this. It was a match that I definitely wanted to win, so I threw with all my heart while concentrating."

Continue reading the full story on SportsLook.

Author: Jim Armstrong

The author is a longtime journalist who has covered sports in Japan for over 25 years. You can find his articles on SportsLook.