No losses…’Must-win’ Cuevas leads KT to 9th straight win over Lotte

KT’s undefeated pitcher William Cuevas (33) led the team to victory once again.

Cuevas started the game against Lotte at Sajik Stadium in Busan on July 27 and pitched eight innings, allowing one run on six hits with one walk and six strikeouts. With the 2-1 win, KT swept a three-game weekend series against Lotte and extended its winning streak to nine games against Lotte dating back to June 6, including a six-game winning streak at Sajik Stadium, a five-game winning streak on the road, and a six-game winning streak on Sundays. The team is also 12-3 against Lotte.안전놀이터

Individually, Cuevas earned his eighth win of the season (unbeaten). He extended his personal winning streak to 10 games since the second game of the doubleheader against NC on October 28, 2021, at Suwon Stadium. He also extended his winning streak against Lotte to three games since June 21, 2020, in Suwon, and earned his first victory against Lotte in 1067 days with a five-inning, three-run win in Sajik on September 23, 2020.

Cuevas, who joined KT in 2019, played in the KBO for four seasons before an injury forced him to leave the team last year. On June 9, he rejoined the team as a replacement for existing foreign pitcher Bo Schuler.

Since his return, Cuevas has led the team’s rise. After picking up his first win of the season on June 23 against the KIA in his second game back with six innings of one-run ball, Cuevas went on to win five games in August, including this one. His personal winning percentage is 100 percent in 12 games this season. KT went 10-2 in the 12 games Cuevas pitched. KT, which was at the bottom of the standings until June 5, has climbed up the standings since Cuevas joined the team and is now in second place.

On the day, Cuevas used a mix of fastballs (41), cutters (27), sliders (17), changeups (16), and two-seam fastballs (2) that topped out at 149 km/h to keep Lotte’s bats in check. Despite giving up six hits to Lotte batters, he only gave up one run in the sixth inning on a double to Jung Hoon. He pitched economically until the eighth inning, when he needed 103 pitches to complete the game.

The offense needed just two runs. In the top of the third, Ahn Chi-young led off with a double to left-center and scored on Hwang Jae-gyun’s RBI single to left. In the fourth inning, Shin Bon-ki singled to right field with one out. This allowed KT to finish the game with just one batter, reliever Kim Jae-yoon, in the ninth inning.

Cuevas said, “I had good balance. I think the lower body and pelvic movements I learned in the U.S. paid off in the Korean League. It was also important to throw the ball with less force,” said Cuevas.

Lotte, on the other hand, has lost seven straight games in a row in a tumultuous atmosphere, further distancing itself from fall baseball. Lotte manager Larry Sutton was unable to attend the game due to a health scare, and assistant coach Lee Jong-woon took over. Starting pitcher Na Gyun-an recorded a quality start with seven innings of two-run ball, but was unable to get any support from the bats and fell to his fifth straight loss.

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