A scorching heat of 37 degrees Celsius, a no-out, two men on base situation in the first inning, unexpected muscle pains
Park Chan-ho (32, Texas) constantly faced obstacles, but they were not enough to knock him down.
Park Chan-ho took his fourth win (one loss) of the season on May 23 in the game against Houston at Ameriquest Field in Arlington, Texas, pitching seven shutout innings and allowing no walks. He now has two wins until his 100th career win.
Seventy out of his 104 pitches were strikes. His top speed was 151 km. For the first time in nine games this season, he allowed no walks. He lowered his ERA from 5.32 to 4.61.
Park Chan-ho had a tough start in the first inning. He put two runners on base, allowing consecutive hits to Orlando Palmeiro and Todd Self. However, Park Chan-ho struck out Craig Biggio with a 132 km curveball, and ended the inning with a ground ball to Lance Berkman and a fly ball to Mike Lamb.
Park Chan-ho faced another crisis in the third inning but was relieved with a double play.
In the seventh inning, with his team leading 2-0, the dehydrated Park Chan-ho suffered cramps in his hamstrings, hips, and waist. He came back to the mound after emergency treatment, after which he shut out the inning with quick pitching.
The Texas lineup was stopped by Houstons ace Roy Oswalt, able to make only two runs, one each in the first and sixth innings, but supported Park Chan-hos with superb defense.
In the first inning left fielder Kevin Mench ran at full speed to catch what could have been a hit by Mike Lamb with runners on first and third base, and in the sixth inning with two outs and a runner on third base, first baseman Mark Teixeira made a diving catch to rob batter Lance Berkman of a hit.
When the press gathered in front of his locker after the game, Park Chan-ho said, I was encouraged by the great defensive support during the moments of crisis. Regarding the heat, he answered, I took yesterdays starter Chris Youngs advice and drank water before the game and between innings. That helped, and although I had cramps in the seventh inning I feel fine now.
Manager Buck Showalter said, It was a gutty performance. He threw impressive pitches that answered the fans expectations.