‘Benjamin 4 innings, 5 runs, 4 earned runs’ KT starters see 8-game QS streak snapped

KT Wiz starters’ streak of consecutive quality starts (6+ innings and 3 earned runs or less) came to an end on Sunday.

KT lost 4-7 against the Doosan Bears of the 2023 KBO Baseball League at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul on Friday.

After an abysmal start to the season that left them in last place, KT has been on a roll lately. Before the game, they were in third place. Behind this has been a strong starting pitching staff. Since June, KT’s starters have a combined ERA of 3.16, the best in the KBO.

In particular, KT’s starting pitching staff, consisting of Wes Benjamin, William Cuevas, Ko Young-pyo, Uhm Sang-baek, and Lee Byung-seong, achieved a record-breaking seven-game QS streak, starting with a win against the Changwon NC Dinos on March 28 and ending with a win against the Jamsil Doosan the previous day (March 4). During this time, KT also went on a seven-game winning streak and quickly jumped to the top of the standings.

However, this streak would not be extended. Benjamin, who started the game, got off to a shaky start as he was hampered by shaky defense. In the top of the first inning, he gave up a leadoff double to Jung Soo-bin that dropped to the right side of the infield and a single to Kim Jae-ho that dropped to the left side of the infield. Suk-hwan Yang followed with a fly to right field, and Yang followed with a fly to center field, but in the meantime, Kim Jae-ho had reached third base, where Jose Rojas singled to right.

The crisis continued. In the next at-bat, a throwing error by the right fielder put runners on second and third, and Kang Seung-ho induced a grounder to third, but a throwing error by the third baseman allowed Rojas to score from second. Benjamin then got Kim Tae-geun to ground out to second base to end the inning.

Benjamin was unable to avoid a run in the bottom of the second. He got the first batter, Jang Seung-hyun, to ground out to third base, but gave up a single to left to Heo Kyung-min and a triple to right-center to Jung Soo-bin for his fourth run of the day. Kim Jae-ho (fly out) and Yang Suk-hwan (strikeout) were able to get out of the jam without further damage.

Benjamin seemed to settle down in the bottom of the third, retiring Yang Ji (strikeout), Rojas (fly to right field), and Kang Seung-ho (grounder to shortstop). But he was shaken again in the bottom of the fourth. The first batter he faced, Kim Tae-geun, hit 토토 a double to left field. A sacrifice bunt by Jang Seung-hyun put runners on first and third, and a wild pitch led to the fifth run. Heo Kyung-min and Jeong Soo-bin prevented any more runs with an infield fly and a grounder to the first baseman, respectively.

KT then made a pitching change to right-hander Lee Sang-dong to start the bottom of the fifth. Benjamin’s final line was four innings, six hits, two walks, five runs, and four earned runs. He threw 68 pitches, and his fastball was clocked at 147 mph. Benjamin suffered his fourth loss of the season (11 wins), ending KT’s streak of consecutive quality starts at seven.

The faltering starters also put the brakes on KT’s momentum. The loss snapped an eight-game winning streak and left KT with 44 losses (48 wins, 2 draws), dropping them back to third place in a day.

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