Samsung Lions pitcher David Buchanan made the final game of the first half a spectacular one.
Buchanan pitched nine innings of four-hit ball, striking out eight and walking none to lead the Lions to a 4-1 victory over the KIA Tigers in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at Kia Champions Field in Gwangju on Wednesday, earning his seventh win of the season. Samsung ended the first half of the season with its sixth straight win against KIA.
Buchanan took the mound in the ninth inning in search of his third career KBO complete game, but gave up RBI singles to Na Sung-bum with runners on first and third. Buchanan remained unfazed and finished the game with 119 pitches. It was his fourth KBO complete game and first no-hitter.
For the third time this season, Buchanan pitched on four days’ rest and went nine innings without showing any signs of fatigue. Before the game, Samsung head coach Park Jin-man expressed his appreciation for the ace, saying, “I talked to him and he said he was fine. He has a lot of responsibility as the number one starter in a tough situation.”
Knowing Buchanan’s competitive nature, pitching coach Jung Hyun-wook didn’t talk to him when he came to the mound with runners on first and third in the ninth inning. Instead, he returned to the dugout with the advice, “No matter the situation, no matter what the outcome, don’t try to do more than you can, focus on the batter and be aggressive.” After the game, Park said, “The starter, Buchanan, pitched an ace, a perfect game and led the team to victory.”
When we caught up with Buchanan after the game, he smiled fondly as he untied the laces of his spikes. He didn’t show any signs of fatigue, just discomfort from wearing them longer than usual. “After the eighth inning, I knew I only had one more inning to go, so I didn’t feel any pressure or anything,” said Buchanan, who threw 102 pitches in the eighth before taking the mound in the ninth.
“If I had pitched five innings with the same pitch count, it would have been tough, but the ninth inning was different. I wanted to go up there and try to get a shutout, but as you can see, a shutout is really hard for a pitcher, so I just tried to focus on each pitch a little bit more,” Buchanan said after the ninth inning.
Buchanan looked like the undisputed ace of late, snapping the team’s five-game losing streak, three-game losing streak, and ending the first half with a win. But Buchanan said, “If you look at the games we’ve been playing lately, we’ve been in a lot of games that we’ve lost. We’ve been doing everything right, and we’ve just been unlucky. Now that we’re in the All-Star break, we’re going to make adjustments, practice, and hopefully we can all do a better job in the second half of the season.” He cheered his teammates on.
As for himself, he said, “Looking back, I think I did a good job of not giving up too many hits. If you look at today’s game, we were able to get to the ninth inning because we didn’t give up too many walks. If you give up free runs, a lot of things can happen after that. So I was pleased with the way we limited the walks.”
Meanwhile, for the first time in 17 games this season, Buchanan partnered with Kim Jae-sung instead of Kang Min-ho. Kang Min-ho, who had worn a catcher’s mask for the previous 16 games, missed the day due to back pain from the previous day’s game (Dec. 12). Buchanan showed unwavering command despite playing with Jae-sung for the first time in a battery, and Jae-sung helped Buchanan on offense with his first two-run homer of the season in the fourth inning to make it 3-0.메이저놀이터
Buchanan said of Jae-Sung Kim: “He’s a great pitcher with great stuff. He did a good job today of framing his pitches as close to the zone as he could, even when he was down low with his fastball, cutter, and changeup. He didn’t give up on pitches that he thought were out of the zone, but he held on to them until the end, which gave him confidence as a pitcher, and he showed the kind of framing that makes you think, ‘It’s a waste, so I can throw a strike if I adjust it a little bit more.
However, Kim Jae-sung said after the game, “I didn’t do anything. It was all thanks to Buchanan,” he said humbly after the game. Buchanan listened to Kim’s words and summarized the situation with one word. “It’s Team game”. “It’s a team game,” he said, summarizing the situation.