SEOUL– With plenty of help from his teammates at the plate and on the field, Ryu Hyun-jin of the Toronto Blue Jays has beaten the Baltimore Orioles for the third time in his final start of the first half.
Ryu held the Baltimore Orioles to a run on five hits in five innings in a 10-2 rout at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore on Wednesday (local time). The South Korean left-hander struck out seven to match his season high and walked two.
Ryu improved to 8-5 and lowered his ERA from 3.65 to 3.56.
This was Ryu’s third start against the Orioles in his past four outings, having gotten the better of them on June 20 and 26. The Orioles are the only club that Ryu has beaten multiple times so far in 2021.
With the All-Star break coming up after Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays, this was Ryu’s final start of the first half.
He hadn’t been his usual, sharp self since June. Over his past half-dozen starts prior to this game, Ryu had gone 2-4 with a 5.35 ERA while giving up eight home runs — the most he’s ever surrendered in a six-game stretch.
But he kept the ball in the park against the Orioles — only the second time since the start of June that he managed to do that — while generating weak contact and offbalance swings.
The Blue Jays spotted Ryu a 3-0 lead in the top of the first, and Ryu responded by striking out the side in the bottom first — on three different pitches at that.
Ryu got Cedric Mullins swinging on a cutter. Austin Hays doubled with one out, but then Trey Mancini went down swinging on a changeup and cleanup Ryan Mountcastle fanned on a 1-2 curveball to waste the Orioles rally.
Ryu gave up a walk and a single with one out in the second inning, but escaped the jam with a fielder’s choice groundout and a strikeout.
The Orioles, despite not scoring in the first two innings, still made Ryu earn his six outs. The left-hander threw 41 pitches through the first two frames, with his power blue jersey drenched in sweat on a hot and humid evening in Baltimore.
Ryu worked around a two-out walk in the third and struck out Mountcastle for the second time in the game to end the inning. But his pitch count reached 64.
The Blue Jays gave Ryu more breathing room in the top of the fourth inning by scoring three more runs.
Ryu then had his first three-up, three-down inning in the bottom fourth, which featured two more strikeouts.
After the Blue Jays added another run in the top fifth to take a 7-0 lead, Ryu pitched into trouble in the bottom half of that inning, before his defense bailed him out.
He gave up three straight singles that loaded the bases, and a sacrifice fly by Hays brought in Baltimore’s first run.
With runners at the corners, Mancini sent a flyball to deep right field corner for what looked to be another sacrifice fly. But right fielder Teoscar Hernandez made a no-hop throw home to tag out Austin Wynns.
The throw was slightly off line, but catcher Danny Jansen caught the ball in front of the plate and made a swipe tag on the runner to end the inning.
That also spelled the end of a laborious day for Ryu after 86 pitches, 56 of them strikes.
Ryu generated 14 misses on 40 swings for a solid 35 percent whiff rate, including five on 10 cutters and four on nine changeups. Six of Ryu’s seven strikeouts were of the swinging variety.
Source: Yonhap News Agency