Shintaro Fujinami, a Japanese pitcher for the Oakland Athletics, blew a game-winning save by displaying a nagging velocity issue.
Fujinami pitched in relief against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2023 Major League Baseball World Series at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on June 6.
Fujinami was called upon with the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth inning with a 3-1 lead.
Fujinami faced Pittsburgh slugger Andrew McCutchen, the “Pirate Captain.
His first pitch, a cut fastball, and his second and third pitches, both four-seam fastballs, were out of the strike zone. Fujinami seemed to find his groove in the fourth inning when he drove a 100.2 mph four-seam fastball for a strike.
Fujinami followed that up with pitches in the fifth, sixth, and seventh, all in the upper 100 mph range. But the veteran McCutchen adjusted to the monotonous pitch mix and cut down all of those fastballs.
Fujinami bowled his eighth delivery of the over. It was low and outside off, poking 102.1 mph. Unfortunately, it appeared to be slightly low. The umpire’s hand didn’t go up.
It was a push ball. Trailing 3-2, the bases were loaded.
Briyan Reynolds was the next batter. To add insult to injury, Fujinami’s command was shaky. With two strikes and two pitches, he opted for a splitter instead of a fastball. He couldn’t fool Reynolds, as the fifth pitch was one-bound. On a full count, the sixth pitch, a splitter, sailed outside and was pushed away to tie the game at 3-3.
Fujinami then gave up another run on a sacrifice fly to put the game out of reach. 안전놀이터
Fujinami was back on the mound in the seventh inning. In the bottom of the seventh, he gave up a single, but easily got three outs with a strikeout and a groundout.
Interestingly, Fujinami allowed zero earned runs. He only allowed three runners to reach base and didn’t accumulate any earned runs. That’s 1⅔ scoreless innings. Fujinami lowered his season ERA from 12.19 to 11.57.
Meanwhile, Pittsburgh’s Bae Ji-hwan Bae put on a show in center field, going 1-for-3 with a run scored. Pittsburgh won the game 5-4. Pittsburgh has won six straight games, while Oakland has lost five straight.