Bae Ji-Hwan (24-Pittsburgh Pirates) has stolen a base in two straight games, moving into second place in the National League in that category. Eight behind leader Ronald Acuña Jr. (Atlanta-26). But it was his defense in center field that stood out, as he reliably handled eight of 10 balls (80 percent) that came his way, helping Pittsburgh extend its winning streak to six games and take sole possession of first place in the National League Central.

Bae went 1-for-3 with a walk, a hit, a double, two strikeouts and a stolen base in the seventh and center field spots on Saturday (June 6) against the Oakland Athletics at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.

That raised his season batting average from .274 to .275, and he also stole a base on the day after stealing two the previous day (May 5), putting him fifth in the majors and second in the National League in that category with 18. Pittsburgh rallied for a 5-4 victory in the sixth inning against Shintaro Fujinami, a former high school rival of Ohtani. With the six-game winning streak, Pittsburgh improved to 32-27 and moved into first place in the National League Central, half a game ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers.

Bae, who had a multi-hit, double, and game-winning RBI the day before, was unusually busy at the plate. In particular, Oakland batters hit a lot of pitches to the middle of the infield. In the first inning alone, Ryan Noda hit a single to center field with two outs, and Carlos Perez’s fly ball went straight into Bae’s glove to end the first inning. A runner on second and third in the second inning ended when Bae made a long leaping catch of Esterly Ruiz’s fly ball. Seth Brown’s RBI double with runners on first and second in the third inning and Nick Allen’s fly ball to center field in the fourth inning also went to Bae.

Even in that situation, he was flying at the plate. In the top of the second inning, Bae drew a full-count walk against Oakland starter J.P. Sears. Mark Matthias singled to center field, advancing Bae to second and then to third on a double steal. It was Bae’s second straight stolen base and 18th of the season. However, he was unable to score as he was stranded at second. 메이저사이트

Bae struck out in his next two at-bats, but the rally continued. In the top of the sixth inning, Jayson Peterson hit an infield single to the center field fence at PNC Park. Bae Bae-hwan ran all the way to the plate and made a jumping catch to keep Pittsburgh’s momentum going.

Meanwhile, Pittsburgh rallied in the middle innings. Oakland’s complacency in wanting to give Sears the win was the key. Sears was up to 102 pitches with runners on first and second in the fourth inning with the A’s up 3-0, and Oakland trusted him. Sears struck out Brian Reynolds on a grounder to short, but gave up an RBI single to Conor Jo to end the inning. A diving catch by Oakland second baseman Jayson Peterson was unsuccessful as the ball hit his glove and bounced away. Lukas Echeck came on to close out the inning, giving Sears a final line of 4⅔ innings, five hits, five walks, six strikeouts and one earned run.

Pittsburgh rallied in the sixth inning. Pittsburgh loaded the bases with one out on a single up the middle by Keybrian Hayes and walks to Matthias and Hedges. Oakland’s option was Fujinami. However, Fujinami gave up back-to-back push balls to Andrew McCutchen and Reynolds to tie the game at 3-3. With the bases loaded and one out, pinch-hitter Zack Swinski hit a fly ball to right field. Oakland’s replay showed that Swinski and McCutchen were out and McCutchen was out at third, but Hedges scored before McCutchen was out. Pittsburgh takes a 4-3 lead.

Fujinami pitched 1⅔ innings of one-hit ball with two walks and one strikeout to keep his record unearned, but he allowed both runners to reach base, which proved costly for Oakland.

In the bottom of the seventh, Oakland tied the game again at 4-4 on an RBI single by Aledmys Diaz. But once again, the A’s were denied by Bae. He got Carlos Perez to fly out to center field and then got Nick Allen to fly out to center field with two outs.

Bae ended up being the hero. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Bae hit an infield single to shortstop against Sam Moll. The Oakland shortstop, wary of Bae’s quick feet, failed to catch the ball and field it in one motion. Hedges raced from first to third on a single to left and came home lightly on McCutchen’s fly ball to right field to cut the deficit to 5-4.

Then, in the top of the ninth, with runners on first and third, he caught a fly ball from Diaz to strand the runner at third, preserving Pittsburgh’s dramatic 5-4 comeback victory.

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