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Blue Jays' Ryu Hyun-jin wins 3rd straight start

Aug. 27, 2023 - 09:25 By Yonhap
Toronto Blue Jays starter Ryu Hyun-jin fields a ball hit by Tyler Freeman of the Cleveland Guardians during the top of the second inning of a Major League Baseball regular season game at Rogers Centre in Toronto on Saturday. (Associated Press,-Yonhap)

Ryu Hyun-jin of the Toronto Blue Jays has won his third straight start while also helping snap the club's three-game losing streak.

Ryu held the Cleveland Guardians to three runs -- two earned -- on four hits in five innings, as the Blue Jays prevailed 8-3 at Rogers Centre in Toronto on Saturday. Two of those hits were solo home runs.

Ryu, who struck out five and didn't walk any, improved to 3-1 for the year, while his ERA went up slightly from 1.89 to 2.25.

The South Korean left-hander returned from Tommy John surgery on Aug. 1, having missed some 14 months of big league action. Since losing the first game back against the Baltimore Orioles after allowing four runs in five innings, Ryu has held opponents to seven runs -- only two earned -- over four starts covering 19 innings.

Ryu threw 70 pitches against the Guardians, 49 for strikes.

The crafty veteran relied on his slow curveball and sharp changeup to navigate the Guardians lineup. Ryu went as low as 64.6 mph with his bender, which generated four whiffs on seven swings.

Ryu touched 90.8 mph with his four-seam fastball, which he threw 29 times. He mixed in 19 changeups, 13 curveballs and nine cutters.

Ryu served up a solo home run to Jose Ramirez with one out in the top of the first, as his streak of not allowing an earned run came to an end at 14 innings.

Ryu's teammates picked up their starting pitcher right away, responding with three runs in the bottom of the first, highlighted by Davis Schneider's tiebreaking two-run blast.

Ryu struck out two batters in a clean second inning and pitched around a leadoff double by Cam Gallagher in the third.

Another three-up, three-down inning followed in the fourth, with Ryu striking out Andres Gimenez swinging on a 64.6 mph curveball.

The Blue Jays extended their lead to 5-1 in the fourth, thanks to Matt Chapman's RBI single and Santiago Espinal's sacrifice fly.

Ryu surrendered his second home run of the game in the fifth, as Tyler Freeman hit a one-out solo shot for his first career major league homer.

Ryu retired the next two batters on groundouts. With his pitch count at just 60, Ryu went back out for the sixth inning, trying to complete more than five frames for the first time this season.

But Ryu's infield let him down.

After a leadoff single by Kole Calhoun, Ryu got Ramirez to hit a grounder to third baseman Chapman, who couldn't come up with the ball to start a potential double play.

The next batter, Oscar Gonzalez, bounced one to shortstop Espinal for what again should have been a double play ball, but the ball ricocheted off Espinal's glove in a backhanded attempt.

With no outs and bases loaded, and the go-ahead run coming to the plate, the Blue Jays summoned Yimi Garcia from the bullpen. Ryu left the game to a standing ovation from nearly 42,000 fans at Rogers Centre.

Garcia promptly hit Ramon Laureano to let in an inherited runner, though it was an unearned run for Ryu.

Garcia struck out the next three batters to end the threat and keep Ryu in line for a win.

The Blue Jays tacked on three runs in the seventh to provide the final margin of victory. (Yonhap)