Japanese pitcher Roki Sasaki throws record-breaking perfect game

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Baseball isn’t just happening in the United States right now. It also happens in Nippon Professional Baseball, Japan’s premier baseball league (their MLB equivalent). And a young pitcher for the Chiba Lotte Marines just pitched what may be the greatest professional game in history.

Roki Sasaki, who is just 20 years old, threw a perfect game against the Orix Buffaloes on Sunday, the 16th perfect game in NPB history and the first in 28 years. His dominating performance equaled the NPB record for most strikeouts in one game with 19, and set the record for consecutive strikeouts with 13. Oh, and he only needed 105 pitches to do it, serving a fastball and a forkball that sailed past hitters going up to 102 mph.

Here are all 19 of Sasaki’s strikeouts against the Buffalos. The first 13 strikeouts all came in a row.

Sasaki spoke to reporters after the game and like all perfect pitchers do, he praised his catcher, Ko Matsukawa, for leading the way with his game-calling.

“This is the best,” Sasaki said after the game via ESPN. “Honestly I didn’t think about the possibility [of a perfect game]† I thought it would be good if I gave up on a hit, so I just threw and trusted Matsukawa until the end.”

Matsukawa, who is just 18 years old and a rookie, also had a hit and three RBI’s in the game, which earned him even more credit. This time it came from Marine Manager Tadahito Iguchi.

“This isn’t something anyone can go through, so it’s a great experience,” Iguchi told reporters via ESPN. “I have to give credit to Matsukawa for mentioning such a great game and for the solid work with the bat. Those two are quite a battery.”

Japanese pitcher Roki Sasaki threw NBP’s first perfect game in 28 years. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)

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