KIA Tigers ‘big pitcher’ Yang Hyun-jong has finally reached 162 wins. With his third win of the season, he surpassed commentator Jung Min-cheol (161 wins) to become the second most wins in his career.
On 27 May, Yang started against the LG Twins in Gwangju and pitched 6.2 innings with seven hits, three walks and two strikeouts in the team’s 6-3 win.
On 8 May, Yang Hyun-jong matched Kim Kwang-hyun in a start against the SSG Landers in Gwangju, throwing eight innings of six-hit, 10-strikeout, no-run ball to reach the 161-win plateau. However, he was unable to get a win in his next two outings, leaving him one win shy of reaching 162.
In the 27th game, Yang Hyun-jong, who will attempt to reach 162 wins again, got off to a clean start with a no-hitter in the top of the first inning. The team scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the first inning when Choi Hyung-woo hit a sacrifice fly with runners on first and third.토토사이트
However, Yang ran into trouble in the top of the second. After being hit by a leadoff single from Kim Hyun-soo, Yang was hit by a double from Park Dong-won to put runners on second and third. Yang then induced the next batter, Kim Min-sung, to ground out to third base to bring home the runner from third, leaving runners on second and third.
Facing Park Hae-min, Yang Hyun-jong hit a three-pitch 147 km/h fastball down the line for a two-strike count. The ball was clearly a strike to the naked eye, but umpire Na Kwang-nam’s hand didn’t go up. The butterfly effect of this one ball decision was huge.
Yang Hyeon-jong’s four-pitch 131 km/h slider to Park Hae-min led to a game-tying single to left-centre field. Then, with runners on second and third, a 145 km/h fastball to Hong Chang-ki was hit for a two-run double to centre field to make it a 3-1 game.
With one ball, a no-hitter turned into a three-run deficit. Still, Yang remained steadfast on the mound. As Yang continued his steady flow of pitches without giving up any more runs, the team’s bats responded.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, with runners on first and second after a walk by Choi Hyung-woo and a single by Kim Sun-bin, Byun Woo-hyuk hit an RBI single to make it a 3-2 game. The KIA bench then brought in pinch-hitter Lee Chang-jin to pinch-hit for Han Seung-taek, which proved to be a godsend. Lee changed the game in an instant with a two-run double to right-centre field.
In response, Yang Hyun-jong struck out the side in the top of the fifth to complete the 162-win requirement. KIA extended its lead to 6-3 in the bottom of the fifth with Kim Sun-bin’s RBI double and Park Chan-ho’s RBI single in the bottom of the sixth.
After a triple play in the top of the sixth, Yang Hyun-jong took the mound in the top of the seventh. It was his last chance. With one out in the top of the seventh, Yang gave up a single to Jung Joo-hyun. He then gave up a walk to Park Hae-min to put runners on first and second, and then Hong Chang-gi batted and Jung was caught stealing third. However, Yang Hyun-jong was able to get Hong Chang-ki to ground out to end the game.
Choi Ji-min took the mound to protect Yang’s 162 wins. After giving up a first-pitch strikeout, Choi got Oh Ji-hwan to fly out to centre field with the bases loaded to preserve Yang’s win. Choi completed the job with a triple play in the top of the eighth, including two strikeouts.
The final threat to Yang’s 162 wins came in the top of the ninth. Reliever Jung Hae-young allowed three consecutive singles to load the bases with one out in the top of the ninth. However, Jung got Moon Sung-joo to fly out to centre field and then got Oh Ji-hwan to ground out to first base to preserve Yang’s 162 wins.
Despite giving up a three-run lead in the top of the second inning on an unfortunate ball call, Yang Hyun-jong was able to stay on the mound until the seventh inning. So far this season, Yang has pitched well, going 3-1 with a 2.29 ERA, 47 strikeouts and a 1.29 WHIP in eight appearances. Despite his five quality starts, he’s only won three games, so he’s been a bit unlucky.
However, his teammates were just as bad on this day, helping him to 162 wins. In the bottom of the fourth inning, pinch-hitter Lee Chang-jin hit a game-winning two-run double that fulfilled the expectations of the KIA bench and Yang Hyun-jong, while Choi Ji-min, who came on in the top of the seventh inning, pitched a dominant game that proved he could be Yang’s successor. Closer Jeong Hae-young was also able to secure the win despite some shaky pitching.
Having proved his consistency, Yang now sits in sole possession of second place on the all-time wins list, with the next target being Song Jin-woo (210 wins). It may seem like a long way off, but with his consistency and hard work, it’s not out of reach for the rest of his career. It will be interesting to see if Yang Hyun-jong can reach 200 career wins and surpass Song Jin-woo as a ‘living legend’.