‘Bullpen jitters’ Hanwha, ‘7th inning’ Sanchez saves the day

After two straight losses amid bullpen woes, the Hanwha Eagles faced the top-ranked team and got a valuable win from Ricardo Sanchez (27).

Hanwha won 4-2 on the road against the KIA Tigers at Kia Champions Field in Gwangju on March 3. The win avoided a three-game losing streak for Hanwha, which had earlier suffered a second straight loss at home against SSG Landers at Hanwha Life Eagles Park due to bullpen woes. It was also a valuable one-run victory that averted a three-game sweep by KIA earlier in the season.

For Hanwha, it was time to find a solution on the mound. Hanwha had previously lost the first two games with Felix Peña going five innings and Hwang Jun-seo going four and two-thirds innings on the second day, but the bullpen was unable to close out the remaining innings. Aside from the closer, the bullpen depth was thin, with only right-hander Lee Min-woo as a reliable option.

Perhaps the solution was simple. If the starters are responsible for that many innings, the bullpen can be relieved, and that’s what Sanchez did today. He was re-signed after going 7-8 with a 3.79 ERA in 24 appearances last year as a reliever.

However, Sanchez was far from an innings-eater. He gave up five runs in his last start against the Doosan Bears on March 27, but before that, he had a 1.71 ERA. However, his innings pitched have been poor as he has consistently given up four runs per game. In his six starts in April, he didn’t make it past the sixth inning once.

This day was different. After giving up a leadoff single to Park Chan-ho in the first inning, Sanchez retired the next three batters on eight pitches to end the inning. He continued to pitch economically, needing just 15 pitches in the third and nine in the fourth to get through the inning.

The offense got the runs it needed. Hanwha opened the scoring with an RBI single by Hwang Young-mook in the top of the second inning, then added an RBI single by Choi In-ho and a two-run home run by Jung Eun-won in the top of the sixth inning to make it 3-0. Jonathan Peraza added a solo home run in the top of the seventh to extend the lead.

Backed by the offense, Sanchez allowed just a single in the fifth and a single in the sixth to keep the scoreless streak alive. In the seventh, he quickly added two more outs, and after an eight-pitch battle with Lee Chang-jin, he got Kim Tae-gun to ground into a double play. His pitch count totaled 105 pitches, not a lot, but it was a far cry from his previous outings, where he had only lasted around five innings with a similar pitch count.

However, Hanwha did not solve its bullpen woes on this day. After Sanchez went down and Lee Min-woo pitched a scoreless eighth inning, Hanwha brought in Joo Hyun for the ninth inning with four runs on the board. Joo struck out Kia center fielder Na Sung-beom, but gave up a two-run homer to Socrates Brito after giving up a single to 토토사이트 Lee Woo-sung in the next at-bat. Joo Hyun-sang then finished the game with one hit and two strikeouts.

Meanwhile, Hanwha head coach Choi Won-ho earned his 100th career victory with the win. Choi, who compiled 39 wins (3 draws, 72 losses) as acting head coach in 20202, was officially appointed to the Hanwha post in May last year after former coach Carlos Suvero was fired. He recorded 47 wins, five draws and 61 losses last year and added 14 more this year.

In Jamsil, the Doosan Bears won 6-4 against rival LG Twins. The veterans were the stars. With Kim Ki-yeon temporarily taking over the catcher’s mantle, Yang Ji-ji came through in the No. 4 spot, going 1-for-3 with a walk and two RBIs, including the game-winning hit in the third inning.

Jung Soo-bin, the No. 1 hitter, went 2-for-3 with a double, a walk, an RBI, two runs scored and a stolen base. Kim Jae-ho, who opened the season as the starting shortstop before handing the job over to junior Park Jun-young, made his first start of the year and served as the nucleus of the bottom of the order with two hits.

In the third inning, Jung Soo-bin drew a walk after bothering LG Detrick Enns with eight pitches. Heo Kyung-min followed with a single, and a wild pitch put runners at first and third in front of Yang Ji. Yang stepped up to the plate and took two consecutive pitches from Enns, hitting a three-and-out single to right field to load the bases. With momentum on their side, Doosan added another run in the fourth inning on a double by Kim Jae-ho and an RBI single by Jung Soo-bin.

After LG rallied in the seventh and eighth innings, Doosan drove in a run in the ninth. Jeon Min-jae doubled to lead off the inning and Cho Sung-soo singled to right-center to bring him home. Closer Hong Gun-hee came in with the bases loaded and one out in the eighth and pitched one and one-third innings to preserve the win.

In Incheon, the NC Dinos recorded a record-breaking victory over SSG. NC recorded a 19-5 blowout victory. NC set a new KBO record in the sixth inning when five consecutive batters scored on push balls. The previous record of four consecutive batters had been set four times. Eight strikeouts in an inning is also a league record.

One more record was set. NC had all nine of its starting batters record hits and runs scored, led by Son As-seob’s 4-for-3 with a double, home run, six RBIs and three runs scored. It is the eighth time in KBO history. SSG starter Kim Kwang-hyun, who was chasing his 162nd career win, gave up seven runs in four and one-third innings and had to settle for the loss instead of the win.

In Daegu, the Lotte Giants rallied to tie the game in the bottom of the eighth inning to earn a new win. Down 0-5, Lotte scored three runs in the top of the fourth inning, capitalizing on a home run, back-to-back hits, and an error. After adding a run in the fifth on a sacrifice fly, the Giants tied the game in the top of the seventh on a two-run home run by Victor Reyes. Samsung tied the game in the eighth on an RBI single by Kim Ji-chan, but Jung Hoon drove in the winning run with a two-run homer in the ninth.

In Suwon, KT Wiz defeated the Kiwoom Heroes in extra innings. With the score tied 1-1 after 10 innings, KT had the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th after Hwang Jae-gyun singled and Kim Byung-joon and Kang Baek-ho walked. Mel Rojas Jr. stepped to the plate and hit a fly ball to right field, but right fielder Byun Sang-kwon was unable to catch it and allowed the run to score, ending the game.

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