The KT Wiz swept the Hanwha Eagles for a comfortable two-game winning streak.
KT Wiz won their 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League home game against the Hanwha Eagles 7-2 on Monday at KT Wiz Park in Suwon (9,704 fans).
With the win, KT won its second straight game and became the third team in the KBO to reach 50 wins (2 ties, 44 losses) this season. Hanwha, on the other hand, lost its third straight game to fall to 38 wins, 50 losses, and five ties. They are eighth in the league standings.
Hanwha’s starting lineup was Jung Eun-won (2B), Kim Tae-yeon (R), Noh Si-hwan (3B), Chae Eun-sung (designated hitter), Moon Hyun-bin (center field), Kim In-hwan (1B), Williams (left field), Park Sang-un (catcher), and Lee Do-yoon (shortstop). The starting pitcher is Ricardo Sanchez. Before the game, Hanwha head coach Choi Won-ho told reporters, “It’s not easy to play Jae-hoon Choi full-time. “Sanchez showed good form when he was paired with Park Sang-un. Kim Seo-hyun (who is scheduled to start on the 10th) needs to be matched with Choi Jae-hoon. If he plays today, he’ll have to play three days in a row,” he said, explaining the reasoning behind using Park as the starting catcher.
KT’s starting batting order was Kim Min-hyuk (right fielder), Alford (left fielder), Hwang Jae-gyun (third baseman), Park Byung-ho (designated hitter), Jang Sung-woo (catcher), Lee Ho-yeon (second baseman), Kim Sang-soo (shortstop), Oh Yun-seok (first baseman), and Bae Jeong-dae (center fielder). The starting pitcher was William Cuevas. Ahead of the game, KT manager Lee Kang-cheol said, “Our team is now at full strength. We were so bad at the beginning of the season that we forgot a lot of wins. All the other teams have accumulated a lot of wins against us,” he laughed, adding, “Our pitching staff is now stable and our bullpen has rebounded. We can play a normal game.”
Prior to this game, Sanchez had been an ace in 13 games this season, posting a 2.84 ERA. However, he has struggled in his last four games, losing three of them without a win. To make matters worse, his special pitching habits have been picked up by opposing teams. Before the game, Choi said, “He pitched well in the first two games after being exposed and correcting his habits. But on this day, Sanchez was hit hard. It was the first game of the week, so Hanwha couldn’t boldly pull out the bullpen card in hindsight.
KT pounded out 14 hits against Sanchez until the fifth inning, scoring seven runs and virtually sealing the victory. In the top of the first, leadoff hitter Kim Min-hyuk led off with an infield single and moved to third on infield singles by Foyle and Hwang Jae-gyun. Park Byung-ho followed with an RBI single to right field to score the first run of the game (1-0). Jang Jang-woo was retired on a three-pitch walk, but Lee Ho-yeon followed with an RBI single to right-center field to make it 2-0.
The KT bats came out on fire in the second inning. After a leadoff single by Oh Yoon-seok, Kim Min-hyuk followed with a double to put runners on second and third. Alford then struck out swinging on a nine-pitch count. But after Hwang Jae-gyun hit a two-run double over the left-field fence, the next batter, Park Byung-ho, took advantage of a wild pitch and lined a single to left field. The score was 5-1.
In the bottom of the third, Sanchez gave up back-to-back singles to Oh Yoon-seok and Choi Byeong-dae to put runners on first and third, but he induced Kim Min-hyuk to ground out to third to get out of the jam. However, they couldn’t get over the hump again in the fourth inning. One out later, Hwang Jae-gyun led off with a single to right and took advantage of a throwing error by right fielder Kim Tae-yeon to advance to second. He then scored on Park Byung-ho’s single to left (6-1).
In the fifth inning, KT added another run. Kim Sang-soo led off with an infield single and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Oh Yoon-seok and a grounder to first by Choi Byeong-dae. Kim eventually scored on a single to center by Kim Min-hyuk.(7-1)
While the bats had plenty of firepower, it was Cuevas who shined on the mound. In the first inning, he struck out Jung Eun-won, Kim Tae-yeon, and Noh Si-hwan in a row. In the second inning, he was rocked by a run. After giving up back-to-back singles to Chae Eun-sung and Moon Hyun-bin, he gave up a single to left-center to Kim In-hwan. However, she showed her crisis management skills by striking out Williams, Park Sang-un, and Lee Do-yoon to end the inning.
The third inning was another triple play. Jung Eun-won and Kim Tae-yeon struck out back-to-back before getting Noh Si-hwan to fly out to right field. In the fourth inning, the team needed just five pitches to increase its momentum. They retired Chae Eun-sung on a two-pitch fly to right field, Moon Hyun-bin on a fly to center field, and Kim In-hwan on a two-pitch fly to center field. In the fifth, Williams and Park induced back-to-back infield singles before Lee Do-yoon grounded out to third, but Hwang Jae-gyun made a throwing error. He then stole second, but Jung got Eun-won to ground out to short after an eight-pitch at-bat. In the sixth inning, Cuevas was in trouble when he gave up a leadoff double to Kim Tae-yeon in right-center field. However, he retired Noh Si-hwan on a fly ball to center field and Chae Eun-sung on a swinging strikeout, then struck out Moon Hyun-bin on a swinging strikeout.
In the bottom of the sixth, Hanwha removed Sanchez and brought up Han Seung-ju. Han gave up a leadoff double to Hwang Jae-gyun, but retired the next three batters.
In the bottom of the seventh, Hanwha had runners on first and second with one out against Cuevas, but Park Sang-un and Lee Do-yoon retired the side in order on back-to-back flyouts to right field. In the bottom of the seventh, Hanwha turned to its third pitcher, Lee Chung-ho. Lee retired the next three KT batters, Kim Sang-soo and Oh Yoon-seok, in order.
In the top of the eighth, KT removed Cuevas and brought up Son Dong-hyun. Jung Eun-won led off with a single against Son Dong-hyun, but Kim Tae-yeon fouled out to third base, Noh Si-hwan flied out to right field, and Chae Eun-sung grounded out to third base. In the bottom of the eighth, the KT bats retired the side in order. And in the top of the ninth. Hanwha’s final offense. The pitcher was Ha Jun-ho. After a leadoff single by Moon Hyun-bin, Choi Jae-hoon walked and Ha Ju-seok was hit by a pitch to load the bases. From there, Jung Eun-won picked up a pushing double. The score was 7-2. KT immediately brought down Ha Jun-ho and brought up Kim Young-hyun. Kim induced Kim Tae-yeon to ground out to second base to end the game.
Sanchez suffered his fourth loss of the season, allowing seven runs (six earned) on 14 hits and four walks with three strikeouts in five innings. He gave up a lot of hits early in the game, but it’s unlikely to have been easy to change. The bullpen would have been overloaded if the foreign ace was sent down early in the first game of the week, and it would have been difficult to replace him until Sunday’s game on the 13th, when he would be available after four days of rest. Han Seung-ju, Lee Chung-ho, and Kim Kyu-yeon followed with one scoreless inning each. Han pounded out seven hits, including a multi-hit game by Moon Hyun-bin.
In contrast, KT starter Cuevas bounced back with seven innings of five-hit ball, four walks, eight strikeouts and one run (one earned) to improve to 5-0 on the season. He was followed by Son Dong-hyun in the eighth and Ha Jun-ho in the ninth for one inning each. The 15-hit offense was led by Hwang Jae-gyun, who went 5-for-4 with a double, two RBIs and three runs scored. Kim Min-hyuk and Park Byung-ho also pounded out three hits, while Oh Yoon-seok also had a multi-hit performance. Kim Young-hyun, who joined KT this season, earned his first career save. 메이저놀이터
After the game, manager Lee Kang-cheol said, “Cuevas, who showed a strong side against Hanwha, pitched well in the second inning and laid the foundation for the victory with his stable pitching. His combination with Jang Jang-woo is getting better and better, and I’m looking forward to future games. Congratulations to Kim Young-hyun for his first save. The batting lineup showed great concentration against the opponent’s aces. Park Byung-ho’s leadoff single in the first inning was followed by Lee Ho-yeon’s RBI single in the second inning to set the tone for the game, and veterans Hwang Jae-gyun and Park Byung-ho hit back-to-back RBI singles in the second inning to secure the win. Thank you to the players for their hard work in the hot weather and to the fans for their support.”