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Baseball: Roki Sasaki meteoric in Marines victory

Roki Sasaki of the Lotte Marines pitches against the Rakuten Eagles in a Pacific League baseball game at Zozo Marine Stadium in Chiba, near Tokyo, on July 1, 2022. (Kyodo)

CHIBA (Kyodo) -- Roki Sasaki struck out 10 batters before leaving with a bloody blister after four scoreless innings, helping the Lotte Marines to a 6-4 Pacific League win over the Rakuten Eagles in his marquee matchup with Masahiro Tanaka.

    At Zozo Marine Stadium east of Tokyo, Sasaki left with a 2-0 lead that the bullpen blew, only for the offense to come to the rescue.

    Sasaki allowed the leadoff man to reach in the first inning on a bounced third strike, and then struck out the side, becoming the 26th player to strike out four in an inning.

    Blood could be seen on Sasaki's uniform pants after he struck out his sixth straight batter for the first out in the fourth inning. He allowed a walk and a single before escaping the inning with a groundout.

    "Roki had that little accident, but his teammates picked up the slack for us," manager Tadahito Iguchi said. "He was on fire. Only that little blister slowed him and he's going to be a big piece for us going forward."

    Tanaka left after allowing a leadoff walk in the sixth. He allowed two runs on four hits, two walks and a hit batsman, and appeared in line for the win after Hiroaki Shimauchi's second home run made it 4-2 in the seventh.

    Akito Takabe tied it for the Marines with a two-run seventh-inning double. Lotte reliever Tayron Guerrero (2-2) worked a 1-2-3 eighth to earn the win and Toshiya Sato put the Marines ahead for good in the eighth with his third homer of the year.

    Closer Naoya Masuda recorded his 18th save.

    Elsewhere in the PL, the Nippon Ham Fighters beat the Orix Buffaloes 2-1 on a pair of unearned runs.

    In the Central League, the DeNA BayStars won their fourth straight, beating the league-leading Yakult Swallows 6-4, the Hiroshima Carp beat the Yomiuri Giants 5-3, while the Chunichi Dragons beat the Hanshin Tigers 3-1 on Ariel Martinez's two-run, eighth-inning home run.

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