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Kim Byung-hyun Gets Defense-Aided Win

Posted May. 18, 2006 03:00,   


The first inning: four walks, three wild pitches (recorded as two), but only one run allowed. From the second inning to the seventh: the same pitcher, allows no runs, wins the game.

It was a bizarre turn of events. The Major League website expressed the same curiosity about how Kim Byung-hyun pitched at the start of the game.

Rockies starter Kim Byung-hyun earned his second win this season at home against the L.A. Dodgers on May 17. Stepping onto the mound in the first inning, Kim seemed to have trouble throwing a strike. It was later known that Kim injured his thumb during batting practice before the game and could not throw his trademark slider. But it was too shaky a start even for the excuse he provided. Not only did Kim walk Rafael Furcal and Kenny Lofton one right after the other, he threw a wild pitch that put runners on first and third. Another wild pitch followed when the third batter Nomar Garciaparra entered the batting box. With no outs and runners on second and third, the next pitch missed the catcher’s mitt again. Luckily, the ball bounced off the backstop and landed in front of the catcher; the runners stayed. Kim walked Garciaparra and now the bases were loaded with no outs.

Getting chased off the hill seemed an imminent conclusion for Kim. But good defense by right fielder Brad Hawpe salvaged the disastrous first inning. Dodgers slugger J.D. Drew hit a ball to right in the fourth inning to put Dodgers up with a one-run lead. But Hawpe’s strong throw stopped the Dodgers from scoring more runs, and Lofton was thrown out.

It was from this point on that Kim transformed into something different. He struck out Jeff Kent, and got Jose Cruz Jr. to tap a grounder to first. Kim threw 29 balls in the first. But now with his nerves settled, Kim was unstoppable. Mixing a fastball and sinker, he shackled the Dodgers batters until the seventh inning. His final line: seven innings, four hits, five walks, five strikeouts, and one earned run. Hawpe, who pulled Kim out of a hole in the first inning, made a game-tying base hit in the second inning and slammed a three-run homer in the fourth, which eventually won the game. The Colorado Rockies won the match, 5-1. Kim’s season record is now two wins and one loss, with an ERA of 4.62.