While we all slept, history was made in Japan, as Roki Sasaki of the Chiba Lotte Marines threw the first NPB perfect game since 1994. What’s more, the 20-year-old struck out 19 while doing it. Oh, and his catcher was a rookie named Ko (or Koh) Matsukawa… who is only 18.
To declare anything the greatest game ever pitched regardless of level is likely a fool’s errand, but there is a thing called Game Score. The highest game score in a 9-inning game in MLB history was Kerry Wood‘s famous 20 strikeout game in 1998, which scored a 105. The second-highest was Max Scherzer‘s 17-K no-hitter in 2015, which was 104.
Now, I’m not great at math, but it appears that Sasaki’s game score is 106. The only game I can think of off the top of my head that has that beat is Ron Necciai‘s Class-D 27 strikeout no-hitter back in 1952, which had a 112 game score (the maximum 114 minus a walk and a HBP).
Regardless of era, league, level, or country, however, Sasaki’s performance against the Orix Buffaloes will no doubt stand for all time as one of the greatest pitching performances ever.