Kim Kwang-hyun fizzles after electric start vs. Japan

TOKYO,-- With his team pushed to the brink after a disappointing loss in the opener the previous day, South Korean starter Kim Kwang-hyun submitted a valiant outing in a crucial game against Japan at the World Baseball Classic (WBC) here Friday.

Kim fizzled following an electric start to his evening at Tokyo Dome, and he ended up getting charged with four earned runs on three hits and two walks in two-plus innings.

Kim looked sharp from the get-go, striking out five of the first seven batters he faced, four of them via swinging.

The flip side of the high strikeout total was that Kim ran up his pitch count. In the first round of the WBC, pitchers may not throw more than 65 pitches in a game, unless they have to complete a given plate appearance.

This rule is in place to protect pitchers from injury at a time when they're mostly building up for new seasons in their respective leagues, rather than competing in high-stakes games.

South Korea staked Kim to a 3-0 lead, thanks to Yang Eui-ji's two-run homer and Lee Jung-hoo's RBI single

Kim didn't help himself by walking the first two batters of the third inning on 15 pitches. Lars Nootbaar then knocked in Japan's first run with a single on the sixth pitch of the at-bat.

Kensuke Kondoh followed up with an RBI double off Kim's 59th pitch to bring Japan within a run at 3-2. Kim's night was done, with two runners of his responsibility aboard.

The new pitcher, Won Tae-in, intentionally walked the dangerous Shohei Ohtani to load the bases and bring the double play into the equation. Won got Munetaka Murakami to pop out to shortstop, but Masataka Yoshida came through with a two-run single for a 4-3 Japan lead.

Kim's final line ended up looking worse than his performance, though South Korea needed more than a moral victory of an outing from Kim.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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