Ryu Hyun-jin (36, Toronto Blue Jays) pitched his worst game since returning from injury, but avoided a loss.
Hyun-jin Ryu started the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, on Thursday (June 24) and was shaky, allowing five runs on seven hits (three home runs) and seven walks with two strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings. His season ERA skyrocketed to 3.31 from 2.62. Toronto fell to 6-7 in the loss.
Ryu’s performance was necessary for fall baseball. Before the game, Toronto was 86-68 on the season, good for the second wild-card spot in the American League. While first-place Tampa Bay (94-61) has already clinched a spot in fall baseball, Toronto is just one game ahead of the third-place Houston Astros (85-69). It was important to run away with as many wins as possible.
Toronto went with a starting lineup of George Springer (designated hitter), Bo Bichette (shortstop), Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (first base), Cavan Biggio (right field), Matt Chapman (third base), Dalton Basho (left field), Davis Schneider (second base), Kevin Kiermaier (center field), and Tyler Heinemann (catcher) to help Ryu in his quest for four wins.
Tampa Bay countered with Yandy Dias (first base), Harold Ramirez (left field), Curtis Mead (third base), Isaac Paredes (second base), Junior Caminero (designated hitter), Josh Lowe (right field), Manuel Margot (center field), Christian Betancourt (catcher), and Taylor Walls (shortstop).
Tampa Bay is one of seven teams where Hyun-jin Ryu hasn’t gotten a win
Since making his major league debut in 2013, Hyun-jin Ryu has yet to win a game against Tampa Bay. Prior to this day, he had started five games with no wins and no losses, pitching 24⅔ innings with a 2.55 ERA. He hasn’t pitched badly, but he hasn’t had much luck.
Of the 30 teams in the big leagues, there are seven teams, including Tampa Bay, where Ryu hasn’t gotten a win. In addition to the Rays, the Los Angeles Dodgers, Kansas City Royals, Chicago White Sox, Houston Astros, Minnesota Twins, and Seattle Mariners are the other teams he hasn’t faced. The Dodgers and Kansas City are the only two teams that Ryu hasn’t faced.
Ryu needed a win on this day. His pace hasn’t been great in September. In his previous four September starts, Ryu had suffered just two losses and had a 3.05 ERA in 20⅔ innings pitched. Ryu had held his opponents to three runs or less in each outing, but he couldn’t smile as his bullpen collapsed and he couldn’t get run support from his offense. He was 3-1 with a 2.25 ERA in 24 innings pitched in five games through August, and he needed a strong outing to maintain his good pace.
Home run bang, bang… Four runs in the first inning.
Ryu was shaken up by a home run in the top of the first inning. The leadoff hitter, Diaz, continued to cut down Ryu’s pitches. The count was 1-2 in Ryu’s favor, but a six-pitch 89.4 mph fastball on the body caught Diaz’s bat and sailed over the left-center field fence for an 0-1 lead.
It wasn’t a bad pitch, so the sting of the leadoff home run was pretty big. Ryu faced the next batter, Ramirez, and threw hard and outside, both of which were balls, allowing a straight fly ball.
With the bases loaded, it looked like the game was tied again. Ryu looked to get out of the jam by getting Mead to fly out to left field and Paredes to strike out swinging, but another walk to Caminero put runners on first and second. On a full count, he tried to pull the bat away with a seven-pitch curveball, but Caminero was not fooled.
In the end, Ryu gave up his second home run of the game, putting him in the worst possible situation to begin with. With runners on first and second, Lowe hit a three-run shot over the center field wall to make it 4-0. On a 2-2 pitch count, a six-pitch, 87.9-mile-per-hour fastball was driven up the middle with no room for error.
Curveball not working, no-hitter until the third inning
Ryu finished the second and third innings scoreless, but it felt like he was holding on for dear life. In the bottom of the second inning, he walked leadoff hitter Betancourt and grounded out to second baseman Walls, turning the batting order around. It was time for the second at-bat against Dias, who had hit a home run in the first inning. On a 2-2 pitch, Ryu threw a five-pitch curveball low and away from the body, which sailed into the dunes, allowing Diaz to reach base. Ramirez followed with a single to right to put runners on first and second, but a fly ball to center field prevented further damage.
In the bottom of the third, he allowed a hit with one out. He chose a curveball, which Caminero timed perfectly for a single to left. It was the first hit of Caminero’s big league career, and the Tampa Bay players celebrated the rookie with a commemorative baseball.
Ryu didn’t give up a hit with one out. He got Lowe to fly out to third and Magot to strike out swinging to end the threat.
NC’s Betancourt shocked Ryu with his third home run.
Toronto’s bats continued to struggle to provide run support. Ryu hung his head in shame as he gave up another home run in the bottom of the fourth inning. The batter was Betancourt, who was released by the NC Dinos in the KBO in 2019.
Ryu had a 1-2 count on Betancourt and fired a four-pitch, 87.2-mile-per-hour fastball over the left-field fence. It looked like it was going to hit the crowd, so the umpires used their discretionary video review and it was ruled a home run. It was an embarrassing moment, as the score was 0-5.
Toronto manager John Schneider didn’t pull Ryu right away, though. After getting Walls to ground out to third, Ryu gave up a single to left to Diaz, but struck out Ramirez and Mead to end the inning.
In the bottom of the fifth, Ryu was forced to leave the mound after failing to get out of the inning. After walking leadoff hitter Paredes and giving up a single to Lowe to put runners on first and second, Schneider decided to hand the ball over to Trevor Richards.
Richards was unable to keep Ryu out of scoring position as a wild pitch put runners on second and third, but he got Margot and Betancourt to fly out to end the threat.
Toronto’s bats wake up late in the game
Toronto’s offense finally caught fire in the top of the sixth inning after failing to capitalize on Tampa Bay starter Zach Littell. Tampa Bay didn’t miss the opportunity to capitalize on the error. Two batters later, Kiermeyer grounded out to third and was thrown out at home on a throwing error by the third baseman, Heinemann grounded out to short and was thrown out at home on a wild pitch, and catcher Betancourt made a throwing error at first base to put runners on second and third with no outs.
Springer gave Toronto the lead it had been waiting for. With Tampa Bay switching mounds from Littell to Shawn Armstrong, he lined a two-run double to the left-center field fence to make it 5-2.
Bichette singled to right to put runners on second and third, and Guerrero Jr. followed with a single up the middle to make it 3-5. Biggio followed with an RBI double that dropped in front of the right field fence to make it 4-5.
Toronto rallies in the eighth to erase Ryu’s loss
Toronto broke the game open with two runs in the top of the eighth. Naturally, Ryu escaped his fourth loss of the season. Heinemann led off the inning with a single and Santiago Espinal followed with a double.
Springer grounded out to shortstop and Bichette struck out on a foul tip to put runners at second and third. Tampa Bay switched mounds from Andrew Kittredge to Pete Fairbanks to try and preserve the win. Fairbanks had 24 saves on the year.
But Fairbanks was shaky. Upon coming up, he committed a wild pitch that allowed pinch runner Cam Eden to score from third base to make it 5-5. Guerrero Jr. and Biggio followed with back-to-back singles, and Chapman walked to load the bases. He then drove in Merrifield on a wild pitch to make it 6-5.
A shaky Romano came up short in the end.
Toronto couldn’t protect its one-run lead in the bottom of the ninth. They sent Jordan Romo to the mound to try and preserve the win, but Romo, who had looked uncomfortable with his fingers from the start, started to shake. He gave up a leadoff double to Diaz and a single to Ramirez to put runners on first and third with no outs. He then gave up a single to left to Mead to make it 6-6.토토사이트
Romano remained on the mound, unchanged. With runners on first and second, he got Padres to strike out swinging and Caminero to ground out to shortstop to send the game to extra innings. However, Tampa Bay requested a video review and Caminero was ruled safe at first base. Two outs and runners on first and third put the game out of reach, and Lowe lined out to left field to end the game at 6-7.