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(2nd LD) Blue Jays' Ryu Hyun-jin settles for no-decision in sharp outing vs. Rays

All News 14:46 August 23, 2020

(ATTN: ADDS comments, details in paras 3, 14-20)
By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, Aug. 23 (Yonhap) -- Toronto Blue Jays' South Korean starter Ryu Hyun-jin walked away with a no-decision despite looking sharp for five innings against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Ryu allowed just a run on three hits in five innings against the Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, on Saturday (local time). The bullpen took over to start the sixth inning, with the score tied at 1-1.

Ryu struck out six and didn't walk anybody for the second straight outing. The high pitch total -- Ryu needed 94 pitches to record 15 outs -- prevented Ryu from going any deeper into the game.

The Rays walked off the Blue Jays 2-1 in the bottom of the 10th, thanks to Kevin Kiermaier's pinch-hit single. It snapped the Blue Jays' winning streak at six games.

In this Getty Images photo, Ryu Hyun-jin of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays in the bottom of the first inning of a Major League Baseball regular season game at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, on Aug. 22, 2020. (Yonhap)

Ryu remained at 2-1 for the season, though his ERA came down from 3.46 to 3.19. In August, Ryu has been 2-0 with a 1.23 ERA, with only three earned runs allowed in 22 innings.

Ryu cruised through four innings, before giving up his lone run in the protracted fifth inning. He needed 30 pitches to get out of that inning, though he only faced five batters, as the pesky Rays hitters fouled off multiple pitches and worked Ryu deep into counts.

Ryu had a three-up, three-down first inning and pitched around a leadoff single by Jose Martinez in the second.

The left-hander had another clean inning in the third, and then struck out two batters in the perfect fourth inning, using only 14 pitches.

The Blue Jays, held without a hit through four innings, spotted Ryu a 1-0 lead in the top fifth, as Cavan Biggio drew a bases-loaded walk.

But Ryu gave it away immediately in the bottom half of that inning. Willy Adames led off with a single, and reached third on a follow-up single by Joey Wendle, who poked one through the hole on the right after a nine-pitch battle.

Adames then scored the tying run on a soft grounder to second by Manuel Margot.

Ryu struck out the next two batters, but his night was done.

The Blue Jays needed Ryu to go deeper into this game, with their bullpen already taxed from recent games. He threw 94 pitches, the second-highest total of the season, but that could only get him through five frames.

Ryu acknowledged after the game that he needs to be more efficient going forward.

"It would have been better if I had thrown more innings on fewer pitches, but overall, this was a solid game," Ryu said in a Zoom session with reporters. "The hitters kept battling and fouling off pitches."

Ryu had a couple of nine-pitch at-bats -- against Yoshi Tsutsugo in the third and then Wendle in the fifth -- and one eight-pitch battle, against Mike Brosseau in the third.

With six starts under his belt, Ryu said he is pleased with how well he's been able to command his pitches, compared to earlier in the season.

Aside from the high pitch total, this was a prototypical Ryu outing. Seven of the 15 outs Ryu recorded came via ground balls, with six strikeouts and two flyouts. Ryu had a strike on the first pitch against 11 of 18 batters faced.

Of his 94 pitches, the one Ryu relied on the most was his bread-and-butter changeup (29), followed by 22 fastballs, 21 sinkers, 15 curveballs and seven cutters.

"I am confident that I can throw my changeup anywhere I want to, whether it's against left-handed or right-handed batters," Ryu said. "The pitch has been working great lately."

In this Getty Images photo, Ryu Hyun-jin of the Toronto Blue Jays (L) bumps fists with his catcher Reese McGuire before a Major League Baseball regular season game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, on Aug. 22, 2020. (Yonhap)


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