The Kiwoom Heroes’ ‘ace’ was not smiling this time.
Ahn Woo-jin (Kiwoom Heroes) started a home game against the Lotte Giants at the Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on Aug. 8 and pitched 5⅔ innings, allowing one run (unearned) on four hits, four walks and six strikeouts.
The best card Kiwoom could play in an eight-game losing streak.
Before the game, Kiwoom manager Hong Won-ki said, “The losing streak is getting longer, and Ahn Woo-jin is coming up. “When the ace came out, we tried to break the losing streak, change the atmosphere, and create a turning point, but it wasn’t as easy as we thought,” he said. Despite his desperation, Ki was unable to fully utilize Ahn Woo-jin’s cards.
Ahn struggled, and to make matters worse, the batters didn’t help.
His fastball topped out at 157 mph on the day, and he mixed in sliders (26), curves (14), and changeups (14).
The first inning couldn’t have started any better. The leadoff batter, Ko Seung-min, struck out on three pitches and Nico Gudrum grounded out to shortstop. Lee then struck out on four pitches. Only eight outs were needed to get out of the first inning.
The top of the second inning was a completely different story. Ahn Chi-hong led off with a single and walked Yoon Dong-hee. He then struck out Jeong Hoon on an eight-pitch count, but then walked Kim Min-seok straight up the middle. Ahn struck out Noh Jin-hyuk to get out of the jam, but was able to get Son Sung-bin to ground out to first base to end the inning.
In the top of the third, he gave up a walk to Lee Jung-hoon with two outs. However, he grounded out to Ahn Chi-hong to end the inning. In the fourth inning, the bases were loaded with two outs, but no runs were scored.
In the fifth inning, after retiring both Son Sung-bin and Ko Seung-min on grounders, Ahn Woo-jin walked Gudrum straight up the middle and Lee Jung-hoon was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and third. Ahn struck out Chi-hong Ahn to end the inning.
The pitch count continued to rise. In the sixth inning, Ahn Woo-jin got off to a good start by getting Yoon Dong-hee to fly out to center field and striking out Jung Hoon. However, he was hit by Kim Min-seok and was forced to leave the game with 104 pitches.
Lee Myung-jong took over the mound. Lee gave up a single to Noh Jin-hyuk to right-center field, and in the process, an error by center fielder Dawson allowed Kim to score from first base. Lee Myung-jong struck out the next batter, Park Seung-wook, and Ahn Woo-jin was able to keep the run at one.
Kiwoom would not be smiling in the end. In the bottom of the eighth, Kim Hwijip tied the game with a solo home run, but a fielding error in the ninth brought the score back to 1-3. There was no comeback in the bottom of the ninth, and Kiwoom lost its ninth straight game for the first time in 14 years since 2009. 안전놀이터