KT’s foreign pitcher Wes Benjamin, 30, has proven himself to be one of the team’s best pitchers.
Benjamin started the game against Kiwoom at the Gocheok Sky Dome on Nov. 11 and pitched 7.2 innings, allowing two runs on six hits and one walk while striking out 11 to lead the team to a 4-2 victory.
KT snapped a four-game losing streak dating back to June 6 against Jamsil LG Electronics. Eighth-ranked KT, with a season record of 35-2-41, erased the gap between itself and seventh-ranked Kiwoom (38-2-44, .463 winning percentage).
Individually, Benjamin picked up his ninth win of the season (3 losses). This is the most wins of any KT starter.
Looking at the pre-game matchups, the odds were in favor of Kiwoom starter Ahn Woo-jin. Ahn had only six wins (four losses), but he had a quality start in 11 of his 16 games and an ERA in the low 2s (2.24). Benjamin, on the other hand, had just four quality starts in 16 appearances prior to this game.
However, Benjamin shrugged off his concerns and gave KT manager Lee Kang-cheol a birthday present of a win against Ahn Woo-jin. 안전사이트
Benjamin kept the Kiwoom bats in check with a mix of fastballs (40), cutters (30), sliders (27), curves (1), and two-seam fastballs (1) that topped out at 148 km/h. He broke the record for most innings pitched in a single game, surpassing his previous mark of 7.1 innings set on August 4, 2022, against the Changwon NC. He also increased his strikeout total from nine to 11.
After not allowing a single base runner until the bottom of the fourth inning, Benjamin cruised through the fifth through seventh innings, retiring the batters in order to make it 1-1. In the seventh, Lee Ho-yeon singled to left and Choi Soo-ho doubled to support the run, and Benjamin took the mound in the eighth. Two batters later, he gave up back-to-back singles to Lee Hyung-jong and Kim Hye-sung to give up a run, but the bullpen’s Park Young-hyun worked out of the jam to minimize the damage. In the ninth inning, closer Kim Jae-yoon preserved the two-run lead and became the ninth player in history to reach 150 saves.
With Kang Baek-ho returning to the first team, KT’s hopes of reaching the mid-table before the end of the first half were boosted. Kang came in as a pinch hitter in the fifth inning and struck out.
Meanwhile, Kiwoom An-woo-jin, who threw 120 pitches, broke his career high for a single game, but suffered the loss after allowing four runs in 6.1 innings. His ERA soared to 2.44. Lee Jung-hoo hit a single in the eighth inning to become the youngest player to reach 100 hits in seven consecutive seasons at the age of 24 years, 10 months and 21 days, surpassing Doosan manager Lee Seung-yeop (24 years, 11 months and 24 days), but he was unable to smile in the team’s loss.
Meanwhile, games scheduled to be played in four stadiums – Jamsil (Hanwha-LG), Incheon (Doosan-SSG), Gwangju (Samsung-KIA) and Changwon (Lotte-NC) – were all canceled due to rain.