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Baseball: Marines help rising star Sasaki to 4th win

Roki Sasaki of the Lotte Marines pitches against the Orix Buffaloes in a Pacific League baseball game at Kyocera Dome in Osaka on May 13, 2022. (Kyodo)

OSAKA (Kyodo) -- Roki Sasaki got plenty of help from his teammates as he allowed a run over seven innings in the Lotte Marines' 4-1 Pacific League win over the Orix Buffaloes on Friday.

    The 20-year-old struck out seven batters and allowed six hits without issuing a walk at Kyocera Dome to improve to 4-0, with three of those wins, including his April 10 perfect game, coming against defending PL champion Orix.

    "Even though they hit me, I was able to pitch well...and just hang on enough to get through seven innings," Sasaki said.

    Leadoff man Akito Takabe singled twice, walked twice, stole three bases and scored Lotte's first three runs. Brandon Laird plated Takabe in the first with a sacrifice fly and completed the scoring with an eighth-inning home run, his fourth of the year.

    "I'm particularly grateful to Takabe-san for hitting and running the bases so well," Sasaki said.

    The Marines infield also turned some sharp plays that prevented the Buffaloes from evening the score.

    Orix lefty Daiki Tajima (0-2) allowed two runs over seven innings to take the loss, while two relievers closed it out for Lotte with new import Tayron Guerrero earning his first save.

    Elsewhere, Nippon Ham's Hiromi Ito (4-3) outdueled SoftBank Hawks ace Kodai Senga (3-1) as both went the distance in a 1-0 Fighters win, while the Seibu Lions beat the Rakuten Eagles 4-2 to extend the league leaders' longest losing streak of the season to three games.

    In the lone Central League game, former Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Gregory Polanco had four hits, scored one run and drove in one in the Yomiuri Giants' 5-2 victory over the Chunichi Dragons.

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