Foreigners toss no-hitter, hit for cycle on same day
Last week’s action in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) League had something for everyone, from newcomer KT Wiz recording the first victory in franchise history to walk-off home runs.
Sunday saw the first bench-clearing incident of the season after Lotte Giants third baseman Hwang Jae-gyun was hit by a pitch from Lee Dong-kul of the Hanwha Eagles in the fifth inning.
However, last Thursday will live in KBO history. For the first time, a pitcher threw a no-hitter and a batter hit for the cycle on the same day.
In the 146 years of Major League Baseball (MLB), that has happened only four times.
At Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul, Yunesky Maya of the Doosan Bears recorded the first no-hitter of his career in a 1-0 victory over the Nexen Heroes. The 33-year-old Cuban threw 136 pitches, striking out eight and walking three, becoming the 12th pitcher in KBO history to hurl a no-hitter.
Maya is the second foreigner to pitch a no-hitter; Charlie Shirek of the NC Dinos did it against the LG Twins last year. In addition, Maya is the second Bears pitcher to throw a no-hit game, after Jang Ho-yeon in 1988.
Maya, who had tears in his eyes after the game, may have derived some energy from compatriot Robertlandy Simon Aties, who plays for Korea professional volleyball league (V-League) champion Ansan OK Savings Bank Rush & Cash. The 27-year-old is a friend of Maya and threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
At Gwangju-Kia Champions Field, Dinos first baseman Eric Thames became the 17th KBO player to hit for the cycle. The 28-year-old American collected doubles in the first and third innings before hitting a solo home run in the fifth against the Kia Tigers.
Formerly with the Toronto Blue Jays and Seattle Mariners, Thames then singled in the seventh and tripled in the ninth in his last at-bat. The Dinos won, 4-2.
Thames is the second foreigner to hit for cycle after Manuel Martinez DeJesus of the Samsung Lions did it in 2001, also against the Tigers.