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Blue Jays' Ryu Hyun-jin wins 2nd straight start, extends unearned run streak to 14 innings

Aug. 21, 2023 - 09:15 By Yonhap
In this Getty Images photo, Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin pitches against the Cincinnati Reds during a Major League Baseball regular season game at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati on Sunday. (AFP-Yonhap)

Toronto Blue Jays starter Ryu Hyun-jin has won his second straight start while increasing his stretch of not giving up an earned run to 14 innings.

Ryu gave up two runs, both unearned, on four hits in five innings against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati on Sunday (local time), helping the Blue Jays to a 10-3 victory. Ryu struck out a season-high seven batters and walked just one.

The South Korean left-hander improved to 2-1 for the season and lowered his ERA from 2.57 to 1.89 across 19 innings.

Ryu has now thrown four starts since returning from Tommy John elbow operation at the start of this month. Since allowing four earned runs in five frames in his season debut against the Baltimore Orioles on Aug. 1, Ryu has not been charged with any earned run over his next 14 innings. He has given up only six hits in that process.

For the second straight outing, a defensive miscue allowed the opposing team to score against Ryu.

The Blue Jays spotted Ryu a 1-0 lead before he even took the mound, with Bo Bichette, after hitting a triple, scoring when second baseman Matt McLain couldn't handle a groundball by Brandon Belt.

After Ryu worked a clean inning in the first, his Blue Jays teammates put up a four-spot in the second, behind a pair of two-run homers by Kevin Kiermaier and Belt.

Up 5-0, the Blue Jays gifted a couple of runs to the Reds in the second.

With runners at the corners and one out, Ryu got Noelvi Marte to fly out to left fielder Daulton Varsho. Then after receiving a throw from Varsho, third baseman Matt Chapman tried to nab Christian Encarnacion-Strand going from first to second. Chapman instead made a wild throw and the ball rolled all the way toward the warning track in center, allowing two Reds runners to score on the play.

Later in the same inning, first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. made an errant toss to Ryu covering the bag on a grounder by TJ Friedl, though nothing came out of that error after Luke Maile lined out to right field.

The Reds didn't score again off Ryu in this one.

Ryu pitched around a one-out walk in the third inning, getting a couple of strikeouts in another scoreless frame.

Toronto bats erupted for another four-run inning in the next inning, with Bichette and Belt going back-to-back with solo shots and George Springer joining the party with a two-run blast to put the Blue Jays up 9-2.

With a comfortable lead, Ryu retired the side in order in the fourth, which included a strikeout of Marte.

Ryu got into a jam after allowing two straight singles to begin the bottom of the fifth but then retired the next three batters.

TJ Hopkins was called out on strikes on a 3-2 fastball on the inside corner. McLain popped out to the catcher, and Elly De La Cruz struck out for the second time against the left-hander, after looking at a 0-2 curveball that found the lower part of the zone.

Ryu's day was done after 83 pitches, 56 of them for strikes. Genesis Cabrera worked a scoreless sixth, and Bowden Francis covered the final three innings for the win.

Ryu threw 38 fastballs, 18 changeups, 16 curveballs and 11 cutters. He averaged 87.4 mph with his fastball, 1.3 mph below his seasonal average, but he didn't need to throw hard when he made Reds hitters look uncomfortable all day with an array of secondary pitches.

Ryu induced three whiffs on 10 swings against the changeup, and three misses on 10 swings against the curveball. (Yonhap)