‘Late-season’ Barnes becomes LOTTE ace…Sutton “pitches fantastic”

Charlie Barnes, who has emerged as the starting ace of the Lotte Giants in the second half of the KBO season, pitched well against Korea’s top pitcher, Ahn Woo-jin, drawing praise from Lotte manager Larry Sutton.

Barnes started the game against the Kiwoom Heroes at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 8 at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul and pitched five and two-thirds innings of five-hit ball, striking out seven. The 3-1 win moved Lotte to within three games of the league’s sixth-place KIA Tigers, whose game was canceled due to heavy rain.

Barnes, who threw 93 pitches, allowed leadoff singles in the second and third innings, but struck out the next two batters. He got out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the sixth inning with two singles and a hit-by-pitch to complete the no-hitter.

Barnes has been the team’s ace in the second half of the season, going 5-6 with a 4.57 ERA in 16 games, completely reversing the trend from the first half of the season, when he went 3-3 with a 1.48 ERA in four games. “I haven’t changed much from before the All-Star break,” he said in a postgame interview, “I’ve just been focusing on training every day and having good days, and the results have come.”

With a three-game midweek series against the winless Kiwoom and a weekend series against KIA, this week is a watershed moment for Lotte in the standings. Led by Barnes’ performance, the Lotte won the first game to set the tone for the cruise, and kept the momentum going after becoming the third team in league history to record a no-hitter against SSG Landers on April 6.

“I don’t think it (the previous record) weighed on me at all, I’m just proud of Wilkerson,” Barnes said. “It would be nice to have a no-hitter every game, but it’s not possible. Today was a different day, so I went into the game with a fresh mind.”

Before the game, manager Sutton Lotte said that starting this week, Barnes and Wilkerson will be in the starting rotation after four days of rest. It was a gamble to get back into the top-five race in earnest. “I’m happy to be on the mound, so I don’t have a problem with it,” said Barnes, who emphasized that he will “make sure my body is ready to go.”먹튀검증

Sutton said, “He pitched a fantastic game with perfect command. He had great feel for each pitch and was aggressive,” Sutton said, “We’re looking to keep the momentum going.”

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