It’s been a long time coming. The 10,309 fans at the ballpark were treated to an epic pitching battle between two of the league’s best left-handed pitchers.
There was a rare moment when the starting pitchers of both teams met on the field during the game. In the top of the sixth inning, Kim Kwang-hyun hit a grounder next to the pitcher’s mound with two outs and 1.3 runners on base, and Kim spun around and threw to first for the out.
Benjamin, who watched the spectacular play from the third base dugout, patted Kwang-hyun’s butt in amazement as he walked up to the mound, and Kwang-hyun patted Benjamin’s butt in return. Knowing that this was his last inning, as he had already thrown 109 pitches, Benjamin acknowledged him by saying, “That was the best.”
They patted each other on the butt, encouraged each other, and applauded a great game.
On the 12th, SSG Landers played KT Wiz in the Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League 2023 at SSG Landers Field in Incheon. SSG started with Kim Kwang-hyun, while KT started with Benjamin. Recently, both teams had more losses than wins and were in need of a win.
Kim Kwang-hyun looked different from the first inning. Kim Kwang-hyun has been showing ups and downs lately, with talk of an aging curve, but this day was different. He got off to a good start by striking out the first batter, Kim Min-hyuk, and then struck out the side in the top of the second inning to reach 1,700 strikeouts in his KBO career. It was the fourth most in history, behind Song Jin-woo’s 2,048, Yang Hyun-jong’s 1,917 and Lee Kang-chul’s 1,751.
Kim Kwang-hyun, who pitched a no-hitter until the bottom of the fourth inning, gave up a single to Hwang Jae-gyun. However, he struck out Park Byung-ho on a swinging strike to end the inning. Kim Kwang-hyun was on a roll, but he made a mistake in the sixth inning. One out later, he gave up a 12-pitch walk to Kim Min-hyuk. The pitch count was high and he was struggling, but he kept throwing to close out the sixth. However, he did give up a hit to Alford. With runners on first and second, he induced Hwang Jae-gyun to fly out to shortstop to end the threat. From there, a single to Park Byung-ho finally broke the 0-0 tie. 안전놀이터
The reason why Kwang-hyun Kim got the loss despite pitching well was because of the presence of Benjamin on the mound. It was Benjamin’s so-called scratch day. His delivery was better than usual, and his cutter was sharp. He used his fastball and slider to get ahead in the count and then used his cutter to take away the batter’s timing. He was perfect until the seventh inning, when Choi broke his streak. A double to left field by Choi could have shaken Benjamin mentally, but he didn’t let it bother him and pitched a no-hitter into the eighth inning.
On the day, Kim threw 109 pitches, including a fastball that topped out at 149 mph, and allowed one run on six hits with two walks and five strikeouts. He earned his 12th quality start of the season (six or more innings and three or fewer earned runs), but received no run support from the offense and suffered his seventh loss of the season.