Baseball’s KT Wiz defeated SSG Landers to stay in second place in the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) standings, thanks to foreign starting pitcher Wes Benjamin, who pitched a perfect game until the seventh inning.
KT won 3-0 on Wednesday at SSG Landers Field in Incheon, South Korea, behind Benjamin’s strong pitching and Byung-ho Park’s two-run double in the visiting SSG in the Korea Baseball Organization’s 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League.
KT moved to within five games of first-place LG Twins. SSG remained in fifth place.
Benjamin’s pitching was the highlight of the game. Benjamin retired 20 batters in a row until the bottom of the seventh inning, starting with Choi Ji-hoon’s straight hit to third base in the first inning.
In the third inning, he struck out Oh Tae-gon and Ahn Sang-hyun, and in the fourth inning, he retired Choi Ji-hoon, Kim Kang-min, and Choi Jeong.
The KT bats also struggled against SSG starter Kim Kwang-hyun. They were silenced with just two hits until the fifth inning.
With the score tied at 0-0, KT finally got on the board in the top of the sixth inning.
With runners on first and third after Kim Min-hyuk walked and Anthony Alford singled up the middle, Park Byung-ho hit an RBI single to left field for a 1-0 lead.
One run was all Benjamin needed.
In the bottom of the sixth, he struck out the leadoff batter, Oh Tae-gon, on a grounder to short, and then struck out Ahn Sang-hyun, who attempted a surprise bunt. The next batter, Cho Hyung-woo, struck out looking.
Benjamin’s perfect game was broken in the bottom of the seventh inning when KT took a 1-0 lead.
Benjamin threw a fastball on a two-ball, two-strike count against Choi Jeong and allowed a two-run double to left field.
It was his first hit of the day.
Benjamin was disappointed, but not rattled. He struck out the next batter, Guillermo Heredia, on an infield grounder to end the inning.
He continued his perfect game in the eighth, retiring the next three batters.
With a 1-0 lead in the top of the ninth inning, KT drove in the winning run.
Leadoff hitter Hwang Jae-gyun hit a double to right-center field against the opposition’s fourth pitcher, Lee Rin, and Park Byung-ho followed with a two-run shot over the right field fence.
Benjamin threw 103 pitches over eight innings, allowing one hit and no walks while striking out eight to improve to 15-5 on the season.
Byung-ho Park led the way at the plate, going 2-for-4 with a home run, three RBIs and one run scored.
He now has 375 career home runs, tying him with Lee Dae-ho (retired) for third place on the KBO’s all-time home run list.
KT Hwang Jae-gyun, who went 2-for-4 with a run scored, became the 10th player in history to reach 100 hits in 12 consecutive seasons.
SSG’s Kim Kwang-hyun pitched six innings of four-hit ball with two walks and five strikeouts, but was saddled with the loss due to the offense’s silence.
Kim Kwang-hyun, who had struck out 1,698 batters in his career until the previous day, became the fourth player in the KBO to surpass 1,700 career strikeouts, passing former national team manager Sun Dong-yeol (1,698) for fourth place on the all-time strikeout list. 파워볼게임