KT wins 6th in a row with bullpen’s help despite ‘3-straight’ Park Young-hyun absence

(By Yoo Jun-sang, Korea Sports News) 메이저놀이터 KT Wiz has won its first six-game winning streak of the season thanks to a strong performance from its bullpen.

KT won its seventh game of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League against the Kiwoom Heroes 3-2 on Monday at KT Wiz Park in Suwon, extending its winning streak to six games. KT’s season record is now 22 wins, 2 draws and 30 losses (0.423).

After taking an early lead in the second inning on Kim Soo-hwan’s bases-loaded walk, KT responded with a run-scoring single by Kim Min-hyuk in the third inning and a solo shot by Park Byung-ho in the fourth.

KT ran into trouble in the middle of the game. Starting pitcher Wes Benjamin gave up two runs on five hits and seven walks with four strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings, the most walks in a game since his KBO debut. The bullpen took over the mound with one out in the sixth inning.

Even after the pitching change, KT’s crisis wasn’t over. After the second pitcher Kim Min-soo struck out Kim Dong-heon, the third pitcher Lee Sang-dong gave up an RBI single to Kim Hui-jip following a wild pitch, and the gap between the two teams disappeared. The score was 2-2.

However, after finishing the sixth inning without allowing another run, Lee Sang-dong settled down and pitched 1⅓ scoreless innings until the seventh, and fourth pitcher Joo Ju-kwon did his job by pitching a scoreless inning until the top of the ninth.

The bullpen even got some help from the defense. In the top of the ninth, Son Dong-hyun hit a single to right field with runners on first and second, but right fielder Jung Jun-young threw out Lim Byung-wook at second base. In a situation where the game could have tipped in favor of the extra base, he made an accurate throw to prevent the opposition from taking the lead.

With the bullpen’s help, Son Dong-hyun got out of a jam in the top of the 10th inning with Kim Hwijip at first base, and KT put the finishing touches on a fierce battle in the bottom of the 10th inning with Jang Jang-woo’s sacrifice fly.

KT struggled with its bullpen on this day. Second-year starter Park Young-hyun pitched all three games of the midweek series against the Lotte Giants, and the team had to start the three-game weekend series without him.

However, the remaining pitchers did their part over 4⅔ innings to complete the team’s six-game winning streak.

KT will try to make it seven in a row on Tuesday with Lee Sun-woo starting. Kiwoom has announced Ahn Woo-jin as the starter.

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