Ryu Hyun-jin Becomes the First Korean Pitcher to Start an All-Star Game
CLEVELAND, OHIO - JULY 09: Hyun-Jin Ryu #99 of the Los Angeles Dodgers and the National League pitches during the 2019 MLB All-Star Game, presented by Mastercard at Progressive Field on July 09, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Two Asian baseball stars have just added historic milestones in their careers after playing their first All-Star Game.
The Los Angeles Dodgers’ Ryu Hyun-jin earned his All-Star Game selection after leading the league in several statistics in an excellent first half of the season, while the New York Yankees’ Masahiro Tanaka came in as an injury replacement for Toronto Blue Jays ace Marcus Stroman.
Playing for the National League (NL), Ryu became the first South Korean pitcher to start the Midsummer Classic on Tuesday at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Yonhap News reports.
Meanwhile, Tanaka, who represented American League, earned his first All-Star Game nod in his rookie year back in 2014 but was forced to withdraw from the game as a result of a right elbow injury.
In his All-Star Game debut, Ryu gave up a hit but held the American League (AL) scoreless in the lone inning that he played. The AL scored the first run of the game off Ryu’s Dodgers teammate Clayton Kershaw in the second inning.
For his part, Tanaka was credited for AL’s win after throwing a shutout second inning.
“It is a very special day for me,” Tanaka said through an interpreter after the game. “I got injured and I wasn’t able to go. That was consuming my mind at that time. But as the years passed, you look back and you feel like you wanted to go to that stage.”
The American League extended its winning streak in the Midsummer Classic to seven games in a row by defeating the National League by a 4-3 score.