Felix Peña (33-Hanwha Eagles) pitched a perfect game until the sixth inning, when he was pulled after struggling with his pitches in the seventh.
Peña pitched six and one-third innings against the Doosan Bears in the 2023 KBO League regular season at Hanwha Life Eagles Park in Daejeon on Wednesday, allowing one run on four hits with four walks and three strikeouts. He pitched cleanly through the sixth inning to snap his team’s four-game losing streak, but in the seventh inning, he was forced to use a lot of pitches in an attempt to conserve his bullpen.
Until the sixth inning, Peña’s pitching had been flawless. His changeup, already labeled as a “breaking ball,” was dancing and the Doosan hitters were falling apart. Peña gave up two walks in the first inning, but he also struck out two to start the day.
He used his changeup to cook the Doosan hitters. Peña loaded the bases with a single in the top of the second, but two batters later, he induced a swinging strikeout of Park Kye-beom with his changeup to get out of the jam. He struck out the side in the third with a changeup and added a strikeout in the fourth.
However, the pitches kept coming. After walking Yang Seok-hwan in the third, Peña walked Jung Soo-bin in the fifth after a seven-pitch battle. He didn’t get a follow-up hit, but even with his good stuff, his pitches weren’t quite the same as before. Still, he retired the side in order in the sixth inning to keep Hanwha’s 3-0 lead with six scoreless innings.
Then came the bombshell in the seventh inning. Hanwha sent Peña to the mound in the top of the seventh with 91 pitches remaining. Peña threw a changeup to the leadoff batter, Kim Jae-hwan, and induced a grounder to first base. However, he gave up a walk to the next batter, Kim Jae-ho, and his delivery faltered against Jang Seung-hyun, allowing back-to-back singles to the plate. The next batter, Kang Seung-ho, was also hit by a changeup. 메이저놀이터
The bases were loaded. Hanwha turned to its bullpen late and brought up Kim Bum-soo. Kim’s fastball wasn’t reliable either. He gave up a sacrifice fly to right field to Jeong Soo-bin, the first batter, and a walk to Heo Kyung-min, the next batter, to keep the bases loaded.
The lead would not be relinquished. Kim Bum-soo induced an infield single to Jose Rojas, which was caught by third baseman Roh Si-hwan to end the inning with Peña’s lead runner no longer in scoring position.
It was a shaky end, but in the end, he did his job. He lowered his season ERA to 2.69 and secured the win.
The game is now in the bottom of the seventh inning with Hanwha leading 3-1.