The “Korean Monster,” Ryu Hyun-jin, 36, of the Toronto Blue Jays, won his first Major League Baseball (MLB) start in 444 days, saving his team from a potential three-game sweep.

Hyun-jin Ryu pitched five innings of two-hit ball with two walks and three strikeouts against the Chicago Cubs at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Thursday (June 14) to earn his first win of the season.

Since returning from Tommy John surgery (elbow ligament splicing) last June, Ryu hasn’t won a game in two starts at home against the Baltimore Orioles. In Baltimore, he struggled early in the game, giving up four runs (four earned) on nine hits (one home run)온라인바카라 with one walk and three strikeouts in five innings.

In his next start, on the 8th against the Cleveland Indians, he was flawless, allowing just one hit through four innings, before being hit in the knee by a pitch from Oscar Gonzalez in the bottom of the fourth inning and leaving the mound in pain.

South Korea’s Ryu Hyun-jin pitches during a home game against the Chicago Cubs in Seoul, South Korea, on Thursday./AFPBBNews=News1
In his third start, Ryu struggled early on. After walking Nico Horner with one out in the first inning, Ian Happ grounded out to first baseman Brandon Belt, putting runners in scoring position. Ryu eventually gave up a two-run double to Dansby Swanson in the fourth.

But Ryu quickly settled down. In the second inning, he used his changeup to get a triple play, and in the third, catcher Danny Jansen threw out Nico Horner at the plate to prevent a stolen base. In the fourth, he gave up a single to former Los Angeles Dodgers teammate Cody Bellinger, but retired the next batter before striking out the side again in the fifth.

The bats came through as well. Trailing 2-0 in the bottom of the inning, Dalton Bashaw’s three-run homer with runners on first and second gave Toronto a three-run lead on back-to-back RBI singles by Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and George Springer in the next at-bat. Toronto, which scored eight runs in Ryu’s absence, went on to win 11-4 and earn the start.

Dalton Bashaw stares at a pitch after hitting a game-winning triple during a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs on Thursday./AFPBBNews=News1
The win snapped Toronto’s three-game losing streak dating back to the 11th in Cleveland, ending a “17-game road trip from hell. The three-game series with the Cubs was particularly difficult, as they dropped the first two games and were in danger of a series sweep, but were saved from humiliation by a stellar performance from Ryu Hyun-jin.

The series also marked the retirement of Jose Bautista, 43, one of Toronto’s biggest stars. Batista, who was traded to Toronto during the 2008 season, led the league in home runs in 2010 with 54. In 10 seasons with Toronto, he hit 288 home runs, was named an All-Star for six straight years and helped the team experience autumn baseball for the first time in 22 years in 2015. After hitting 344 career home runs, he hasn’t played in the big leagues since 2018 and recently signed a one-day contract with Toronto to end his career.

Jose Bautista does a bat flip after hitting a home run in the seventh inning during Game 5 of the American League Division Series against Texas in 2015. /AFPBBNews=News1

Jose Bautista wipes tears from his eyes as he speaks during his retirement ceremony in Toronto, Canada, on Wednesday. /AFPBBNews=News1
Toronto held a retirement ceremony for Batista prior to the game on Wednesday, inducting him into the club’s Hall of Fame, the Level Oven of Excellence. He was joined by 10 other inductees, including Roy Halladay (No. 32), Carlos Delgado and Joe Carter. The series was an important one.

But Toronto lost 4-5 on the day of Batista’s retirement ceremony. Trailing 1-4, the Jays rallied with a two-run homer by Whit Merrifield in the fifth inning, tied the game in the bottom of the sixth, and lost in the top of the ninth on a game-winning double by Christopher Morel.

Toronto was in danger of suffering a sweep in the series honouring their team legend. However, they were able to salvage some dignity with a strong performance from Ryu Hyun-jin.

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