A single home run seemed like it wouldn’t be a problem for a four-game winning streak. Instead, the home team’s starting pitcher gave up three home runs. It was the bullpen that stood in the way of Ryu Hyun-jin (36, Toronto Blue Jays). The manager’s decision to take the mound so early was also disappointing.
Hyun-jin Ryu threw 76 pitches over five innings, allowing four hits (one home run), two walks, three strikeouts, and two runs in a 9:40 a.m. ET start against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado, USA.
Ryu, who was riding a three-game winning streak in his one-year, two-month return from elbow ligament reconstruction surgery (Tommy John surgery), went for his first four-game winning streak in 1,560 days since May 26, 2019, but his bullpen couldn’t protect the lead. He remained 3-1 and raised his ERA from 2.25 to 2.48. However, the offense exploded for a 13-9 victory. Toronto has won five straight games, excluding the comeback in which Hyun-jin Ryu pitched.
With the two-game winning streak, the Jays improved to 74-61 and remained in third place in the American League (AL) East, but moved to within 1.5 games of the third-place Texas Rangers in the wild-card race, boosting their fall baseball hopes.
Colorado, on the other hand, lost four straight to fall to 49 wins and 85 losses and remain in last place in the National League (NL) West.
Ryu Hyun-jin. /Photo via Toronto Blue Jays Official Social Media
Ryu Hyun-jin. /Photo=Toronto Blue Jays Official Social Media
September 2 Toronto Blue Jays vs Colorado Rockies Starting Lineup
Both teams released their starting lineups ahead of the game. Toronto went with George Springer (right field), Davis Schneider (third base), Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (first base), Brandon Belt (designated hitter), Danny Jansen (catcher), Whit Merrifield (second base), Dalton Bashaw (left field), Ernie Clement (shortstop), and Kevin Kiermaier (center field).
Colorado’s lineup was Charlie Blackmon (right field), Ezequiel Toba (shortstop), Elias Diaz (catcher), Ryan McMahon (third base), Brendan Rodgers (second base), Hunter Goodman (designated hitter), Nolan Jones (left field), Elefuris Montero (first base), and Brenton Doyle (center field).
The pitcher facing Ryu was Chris Flexen, one of the “reverse export myths” of the KBO. After going 8-4 in 21 games for Doosan in 2020, he made his way to the big leagues and went 14-6 with a 3.61 ERA for the Seattle Mariners in 2021. He went 8-9 with a 3.73 ERA last year, but spent this season with the New York Mets before finally landing in Colorado. In 23 games, splitting time between the starting rotation and the bullpen, he is 1-6 with a 6.94 ERA.
Colorado starting pitcher Flexen. /AFPBBNews=News1
Coors Field, home of Colorado. /AFPBBNews=News1
A perfect 1-2-3 inning, a cutter, and a silent Colorado offense
Coors Field, the graveyard of pitchers, revisited after a four-year absence. Blackmon, who was batting .343 with one home run against Ryu, threw the first pitch low and away and the second high and away to get a favorable 1-2 count. Three straight four-seam fastballs checked the count.
바카라사이트He followed with a low-cut fastball (cutter) outside on pitch four and a high curve on pitch five, but Blackmon’s bat didn’t turn. With a full count, he fired back-to-back 89.2 mph (143.6 km/h) fastballs, but a 90.1 mph (145 km/h) fastball at the top of the eight-pitch zone got Blackmon to ground out to first base.
Having gotten over the hump, Ryu stepped up his game. He needed just four pitches to get Tovar and five to get Diaz to swing at back-to-back pitches, all cutters outside the zone.
In the second inning, he got McMahon to ground out to the first baseman. Ryu’s aggressive work in the zone made the Colorado hitters impatient. Rogers induced a grounder to third base with one pitch. Goodman swung at a pitch two pitches later, and this time, the grounder sailed into the first baseman’s mitt. A perfect third inning.
Ryu Hyun-jin pitches back. /AFPBBNews=News1
Colorado’s Montero hits a home run off Ryu Hyun-jin in the third inning. /AFPBBNews=news1
3rd inning: A walk, a hit by pitch, and a double off the fence… but the team’s crisis management skills were ‘unparalleled’
In the top of the third inning, the offense put together a pair of singles and a walk, but couldn’t capitalize on a chance to put runners on first and third. Schneider flied out to right field and Guerrero Jr. grounded out to third base, leaving two outs and Ryu back on the mound.
Nolan Arenado (St. Louis) had left the game, but Colorado still seemed to have a good feel for Ryu. In the third inning, they pounded Ryu. The first batter, Jones, was hit by a three-pitch low cutter for a single to right.
He was then hit by a four-pitch fastball from Montero on a 1-2 count. A 76.6-mile-per-hour (123.4-kilometer-per-hour) changeup was driven down the middle and Montero’s bat swung hard. The pitch traveled 153.7 kilometers (95.5 miles) at 113 mph for a two-run shot over the left-field fence.
The home run shockwave seemed to continue. He got Doyle to ground out to third base, but then threw five pitches to Blackmon for his first walk of the night. Tovar followed with a huge double to the left field wall. It was a low, 87.8-mph (141.3-kilometer) fastball, but Tova swung at it like he had a plan from the first pitch and crushed it for a double. It put runners on second and third.
But that was as far as the anxiety went. Ryu, who froze Diaz with a 70.1-mph (112.8-kilometer) fastball in the first inning, induced a foul swing on a two-pitch outside fastball, then kept the advantage and induced a grounder to the pitcher with a cutter on the outside edge of the sixth. With the runners tied at third, Hyun-Jin Ryu fired to first to extend the count. On a 2-2 pitch, McMahon induced a swinging strike on a 67.1-mile-per-hour (107.9-kilometer-per-hour) fastball. It was his third strikeout of the night.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Goodman’s six-pitch at-bat in the upper left-hand corner of the zone was ruled a ball, giving Ryu an unfair advantage. /Photo=MLB.com Gameday
Toronto’s Clement celebrates his tying home run in the top of the fifth inning. /AFPBBNews=News1
In the 4th inning, the Chungeum Chasers rallied despite the ‘freaky S’ call… ‘It’s a monster,’ says Belt, runners on first and second.
In the top of the fourth inning, Belt lined a changeup from Flexen and smashed a 109.4-mile-per-hour (176.1-kilometer-per-hour) bullet over the high wall in right field. It was his 16th home run of the season.
In the bottom of the fourth, Ryu, who had gotten Rogers to ground out to first base, was hit by a single up the middle by Goodman. What happened next was problematic. He faced Goodman on a full count and drove a 6-pitch 88.8 mph (142.9 km/h) fastball into the upper deck. Just when he thought he had a comfortable strike, the call was made.
Umpire Angel Hernandez called it a ball. Toronto manager John Schneider jumped up to protest, but the call was not overturned. Hernandez, who has a reputation for making cringe-worthy calls that prompted Ian Kinsler to call for him to “leave baseball,” was right.
Nevertheless, Ryu showed a “steel mentality” that never wavered. With Montero on a 1-1 count, he threw an 87.5-mph (140.8-kilometer) fastball that induced a second-base-to-first-base double play. Once again, the threat of a run was erased.
In the next at-bat, Clement, the leadoff hitter, took the pressure off Ryu with his season’s longest home run off the left field foul pole.
Jansen hits a game-tying two-run homer in the top of the sixth inning after an umpire’s error prevented him from striking out. /Photo=MLB.com Gameday
Jansen celebrates his game-winning home run. /AFPBBNews=News1
Eight-pitch shutout in the fifth inning: Jayson Jansen and the ‘Thank You’ Hernandez
The fateful fifth inning was upon us. Ryu Hyun-jin, who has been performing well this season but hadn’t pitched more than five innings, needed to reduce his pitch count.
After throwing 68 pitches, he returned to the mound in the fifth inning. The bullpen started to come into play, but Ryu pitched a perfect game to get through the next inning. Facing Doyle, Blackmon, and Tova, he retired the side in order on just eight pitches and threw 76 pitches to start the sixth inning.
In the top of the sixth, Belt led off with a single to right. Jansen followed with another at-bat, this time laughing at an unexpected call. On a 2-2 pitch, Flexen’s cutter hit the bottom of the outside zone. But umpire Hernandez called it a ball. After striking out, Jansen lifted a six-pitch 91 mph (146.5 km/h) four-seam fastball for a game-winning two-run arch. It was his 17th home run of the season. It was a shot that increased Toronto’s win probability by 26.8 percent, from 50.4 percent to 77.2 percent.
Unlike Hyun-Jin Ryu, Flexen was unable to overcome the umpire’s error, giving up a walk to Basho in the second inning and eventually giving way to Gavin Hallowell.
Despite the fifth inning, Schneider didn’t push Ryu too hard. Jimmy Garcia took the mound for the sixth inning, again only lasting five pitches.
Colorado Jones (right) celebrates after hitting a game-winning three-run home run in the bottom of the sixth inning. /AFPBBNews=News1
Kirk comes up to bat in the top of the seventh inning and hits a three-run double. /AFPBBNews=News1
‘I only threw 76 pitches…’ Ryu sees 4-game winning streak snapped by bullpen arson, but bats come back to win in late innings
The fifth inning was brief, but Schneider didn’t push Ryu too hard. Garcia was already on the mound in the sixth inning after just five pitches.
A throwing error by third baseman Schneider allowed Diaz to reach base and McMahon singled to put runners on first and second. Rogers and Goodman were then retired on consecutive pitches, but Schneider walked left-hander Jones to bring up Yoenis Cabrera. The decision to pull Garcia, who had pitched well and was not rattled by the error, and play “lefty” proved costly. He gave up a three-run homer to Jones (#14), ending Ryu’s four-game winning streak.
Luckily, the Toronto bats came out on fire. In the top of the seventh, back-to-back singles by Kiermeyer and Springer were followed by an RBI double by Schneider, who had committed an error in the sixth, to tie the game again at 5-5. In the bottom of the inning, Belt walked and pinch-hitter Alejandro Kirk followed with an RBI double to put the game back in reach. Merrifield followed with an RBI double to center field to make it a four-run game, 9-5.
Toronto reached double digits in the top of the eighth when Guerrero Jr. doubled with two outs. In the ninth, Toronto added three more runs. The offense was hot at the plate, pounding out 17 hits, with everyone in the lineup hitting.
On the mound, after Cabrera, Jordan Hicks and Trevor Richards each pitched one shutout inning. Chad Greene, returning from injury and taking the mound in the ninth inning with the game on the line, gave up four runs on five hits while striking out two. Jordan Romano then took over and struck out the side to close out the game.
Flexen threw 87 pitches in 5⅔ innings, allowing four runs on seven hits (three homers) and one walk to fall to 7-1 on the season. He lowered his ERA slightly from 6.89 to 6.86.
Ryu Hyun-jin. /AFPBBNews=News1