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Blue Jays' Ryu Hyun-jin goes 5 solid innings in no-decision vs. Rockies

Sept. 2, 2023 - 13:40 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)

Toronto Blue Jays starter Ryu Hyun-jin has settled for a no-decision after pitching five solid innings in a notorious hitters' park, with the bullpen costing the South Korean pitcher his fourth consecutive win.

Ryu held the Colorado Rockies to two runs on four hits in five innings at Coors Field in Denver on Friday local time, as the Jays won 13-9. Ryu struck out three and walked two while remaining at 3-1 for the season. His ERA rose slightly from 2.25 to 2.48.

All the damage against Ryu came via a two-run home run by Elehuris Montero in the bottom of the third.

The homer gave the Rockies a 2-0 lead, but the Blue Jays responded with three homers of their own to take a 4-2 lead after five innings.

The Blue Jays then went to the bullpen to begin the bottom sixth, with Ryu in line for the win. But with two outs in the inning, reliever Genesis Cabrera served up a three-run homer to Nolan Jones and allowed the Rockies to take a 5-4 lead.

The Blue Jays went on an outburst, scoring nine runs over their final three frames. Cabrera was credited with the win in relief.

The starting pitching matchup featured a pair of Korea Baseball Organization alumni. Ryu pitched for the Hanwha Eagles from 2006 to 2012 before signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers. His counterpart in this game, Chris Flexen, was an ace for the Doosan Bears in 2020.

Ryu retired the first six Rockies of the game. He struck out two batters in the bottom first and then induced three straight groundouts in the second inning.

The Rockies got to Ryu in the bottom third. After Nolan Jones led off with a single, Elehuris Montero touched Ryu for a two-run blast to left field. At a 1-2 count, Ryu left a 76.7 miles per hour changeup over the middle of the plate and surrendered his fourth home run of the season.

Ryu gave up a walk and a double later in the same inning, but pitched out of the jam with a groundout and a strikeout.

The Blue Jays' lineup responded for Ryu in the top of the fourth, as Brandon Belt led off with a solo home run off Flexen.

Ryu put two runners aboard after one out in the bottom fourth with a single and a walk, but got Montero to bounce into an inning-ending double play.

The Blue Jays then tied the score in the top of the fifth, courtesy of Ernie Clement's solo home run to left field.

Ryu kept the game tied with a clean fifth inning, which featured two groundouts and a flyout.

The Blue Jays claimed their first lead of the game in the top of the sixth, thanks to yet another long ball. This time, it was Ryu's batterymate Danny Jansen, who smacked a two-run homer to left field against Flexen.

Staked to a 4-2 lead, Ryu handed the reins to the bullpen after 76 pitches, 48 of them for strikes. Since returning from last year's Tommy John surgery on Aug. 1, Ryu has yet to go deeper than five innings. His season high for pitch count is 86.

The offense had the bullpen's back for the Blue Jays. They put up a five-spot in the top of the seventh, highlighted by Alejandro Kirk's three-run double. They tacked on another run in the eighth and three more in the ninth.

The Rockies got four runs back in the bottom ninth to make the final score look more respectable.

Ryu once again threw his slow curveballs to keep hitters off balance, and averaged just 69.6 mph with the bender. The curve induced three whiffs on five swings.

The Blue Jays are fighting to stay alive in the postseason race. They entered this game sitting 2.5 games behind the Texas Rangers for the third and final American League Wild Card spot. (Yonhap)