Having made a splash in the World Baseball Classic, hard-throwing Roki Sasaki was an 11-strikeout force in his Pacific League season debut Thursday, going six innings for the Lotte Marines in a 6-1 win over the Nippon Ham Fighters.
Before a weekday crowd of 26,169 at Zozo Marine Stadium, Sasaki (1-0) allowed one single and no walks. The 21-year-old last year became the youngest to throw a perfect game in Japanese pro baseball.
Sasaki surrendered Chusei Mannami's one-out first-inning line single before retiring the next 17 hitters. After 80 pitches, he left with a 2-0 lead.
"I haven't been pitching in games, so I wasn't sure about my condition, but I still managed to pitch well while figuring things out," Sasaki said.
"I was able to savor a championship in the WBC, and I'd like to experience that remarkable feeling here, too."
Shogo Nakamura doubled in a run in the first off Fighters lefty Takayuki Kato (0-2) and singled and scored in the fourth and again in the eighth.
Elsewhere in the PL, Masahiro Tanaka (1-1) allowed one run over seven innings on Mark Payton's first home run in Japan and took the loss as the Seibu Lions beat the Rakuten Eagles 2-1.