After 34 appearances spread over 1,908 days, Wei-Chung Wang finally has an MLB win under his belt.
The A’s reliever struck out one and walked another in 2 1/3 innings of shutout ball against the Minnesota Twins on Thursday, earning the first victory of his big league career as the A’s picked up a 7-2 win.
Wang and his teammates appropriately celebrated the milestone with a beer shower.
Melvin says Wang earned the beer shower he’s getting right now.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) July 4, 2019
Wei Chung Wang got the beer shower for first Major League win. When he was asked how it felt, his response: "Very cold."— Martín Gallegos (@MartinJGallegos) July 5, 2019
On Thursday, Wang entered the game with runners on first and second and two outs in the top of the fifth inning with the A’s trailing 2-1. Wang fell behind 2-1 in the count against Jason Castro, but he induced a flyout to center with an 81 mph changeup on his fourth pitch.
The A’s regained the lead in the bottom of the inning, and Wang didn’t look back. He ended the sixth by inducing a double play, then closed out the seventh by striking out Miguel Sano looking with a 3-2 changeup.
“It was an amazing job by the bullpen,” starting pitcher Brett Anderson said (via Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle). “Wang absolutely killed it, 2 1/3 innings of quality pitching, it was just awesome.”
Wang, 27, has had a meandering path to his first MLB win. He made his big league debut with the Milwaukee Brewers on April 14, 2014, and posted a 10.90 ERA in 14 appearances. The Taiwanese pitcher then didn’t appear in an MLB game again until 2017 after spending the intervening two seasons in the minors.
Last season, Wang pitched for NC Dinos of the KBO in Korea. He then signed a minor-league deal with the A’s before the season, getting his first call up after the team designated reliever Fernando Rodney for assignment.
Wang has allowed just three runs and nine hits in 17 1/3 innings for the A’s this season. Liam Hendriks (1.29) is the only A’s pitcher who has a lower ERA than Wang (1.80) in 2019.
“It’s very exciting,” Wang said through translator Sean Cheng (via MLB.com). “I wasn’t sure if I would be able to make it back here to the big leagues. I worked my butt off and really grateful the A’s gave me the opportunity to come back to the United States to pitch.”
The A’s bullpen has had its share of ups and downs this season, but Wang is one of the bright spots. As long as he maintains his performance, those days working back to the big leagues could be well behind him.