‘Motivated’ Ace Match…KT Cuevas Defends His Pride

William Cuevas (33-photo) of the Korean Baseball Organization KT made his KBO debut in a KT uniform in 2019. He played consistently for KT for three years, helping them win their first title in 2021, but left the team early in the season last year due to injury before returning as a substitute early this season.

Doosan ace Raúl Alcantara, 31, also made his Korean debut with KT in 2019. He won 11 games in his first year, but when he was not re-signed the following year, Doosan picked him up. After winning 20 games and winning the league title in 2020, he went to Japan for two years before returning to Doosan this year. He already has 10 wins (5 losses) and is among the best in the league with a sub-2 ERA.

The two foreign aces, who debuted for the same team, faced off against each other in a pitcher’s duel with pride on the line. In a tight game, Cuevas won by one run.

KT took a 1-0 victory over Doosan in Jamsil on Friday, breaking the balance of a tightly contested match by a single point. Third-place KT extended its lead over fifth-place Doosan to four games and continued its push for the top spot.

Cuevas pitched seven shutout innings, allowing two hits and two walks while striking out seven. In the bottom of the seventh, Cuevas gave up back-to-back walks to Kim Jae-hwan and Kim In-tae to put runners on first and second, but he induced a wild pitch from pinch-hitter Kang Seung-ho and struck out the side.

Doosan Alcantara also kept KT batters in check. The right-hander threw 97 pitches over seven innings, allowing four hits and no walks while striking out six. However, the Doosan bats didn’t break through until the bottom of the seventh, and he turned the ball over to the bullpen in the top of the eight.

KT batters scored the game-winning run in the top of the eighth inning after Alcantara was relieved by Cuevas, who reached 100 pitches. Two batters later, Choi Jae-dae led off with a single to right and came home on Kim Min-hyuk’s triple to left-center field to make it a 1-0 game.

With Cuevas earning the win, Park Young-hyun 안전놀이터 came on in the eighth and Kim Jae-yoon in the ninth to preserve KT’s one-run lead. With the save, Kim became the sixth pitcher in the KBO to reach 20 saves for the fourth consecutive year.

Cuevas, who swept for his sixth win in 10 games (undefeated) since returning, said, “1-0 games are fun for pitchers. When I got here, we were in eighth place and now we’re in third. I’m pitching while dreaming about the Korean Series.”

In Daegu, Samsung beat LG 6-5 after Oh Jae-il drove in a run with a two-run double in the bottom of the eighth inning with a 4-3 lead. Samsung starter Won Tae-in pitched six innings of two-run ball for his fifth win of the season. Last-place Kiwoom snapped a four-game losing streak by defeating KIA 9-6 in a wild game in Gwangju. Lotte pounded out 16 hits to beat SSG 10-6.

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