Samsung catches KIA for third straight win + maintains 3-point lead over tied fourth…Hanwha suffers fifth straight loss

The KIA Tigers kept their fall baseball hopes alive by giving their home fans a win for the second straight day.

The Tigers extended their winning streak to three games and improved to 69-2-67 (0.507) with a 3-1 victory over the Samsung Lions in the final regular-season game of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at Gwangju-KIA Champions Field on Monday. With the second straight loss in Gwangju, Samsung is now 60-1-0 (0.429).

In a tight pitching battle, Samsung broke the scoreless tie first. After the second inning, the team showed its focus. In the top of the sixth inning, Kim Hyun-jun singled, stole second on a wild pitch, and came home on a single to left by pinch-hitter Ahn Ju-hyung to give the team the lead.

KIA fought back. In the bottom of the sixth, Kim Sun-bin led off with a single and Lee Woo-sung followed with a walk. With runners on second and third, Go Jong-wook lined a single to right against Kim Tae-hoon to bring home Kim from third.

Tied 1-1, KIA turned the tide in the bottom of the eighth. After a leadoff walk to Kim Sun-bin, Lee Woo-sung singled to lead off the inning, and after a groundout by Go Jong-wook, Han Jun-soo and Lee Chang-jin followed with back-to-back RBI singles to make it 3-1.

KIA brought in closer Jung Hae-young to start the top of the ninth, and he preserved the lead by getting Jose Pirela to fly out to center after Kim Ho-jae doubled.

KIA starter Lee Yi-ri fulfilled his role as a starter, although he didn’t get the win. He threw 115 pitches in 5⅔ innings, allowing five hits, four walks, 10 strikeouts and one earned run. It was only the second time this season he had double-digit strikeouts in a game since May 30 against KT (11).

Meanwhile, Samsung starter Kim Dae-woo, who was matched up against Lee, was unable to pick up the win despite pitching five innings of three-hit ball with two walks and two strikeouts. In particular, Samsung was unable to avoid back-to-back losses despite using six bullpen pitchers, including Choi Ji-kwang, Lee Jae-ik, Kim Tae-hoon, right-hander Lee Seung-hyun, Woo Kyu-min, and Lee Sang-min.

At the Changwon NC Park, the NC Dinos swept the Hanwha Eagles 11-6 to improve to 72 wins, 2 draws and 64 losses (0.529). With the win, NC closed the gap on SSG and moved into fourth place. Ninth-ranked Hanwha, which has lost five straight games, is now 56-6-78 (0.418), and the gap to last-place Kiwoom has been cut to one game.

It was Hanwha who took the early lead. In the top of the second inning, after Chae Eun-sung and Kim In-hwan drew walks and a hit-by-pitch, respectively, Lee Jin-young, batting with runners on first and second, hit a three-run arch over the left field fence off NC starter Shin Min-hyuk.

NC started to gain momentum with “Asian Games gold medalist” Kim Joo-won at the plate. Kwon Hee-dong singled and an error put runners on second and third, and Kim closed the gap to one run with a two-run double off Hanwha starter Ricardo Sanchez.

After Hanwha extended its lead to four runs in the top of the third inning on Nick Williams’ sacrifice fly and Chae Eun-sung’s RBI single, NC scored two runs in the bottom of the inning to make it 4-6. In the bottom of the fifth, with the bases loaded, Park Gun-woo pulled a five-pitch fastball from Hanwha’s second pitcher, Kim Bum-soo, for a two-run shot to tie the game at 6-6.

In the bottom of the fifth inning, first baseman Seo Ho-cheol and third baseman Jason Martin attempted a double steal, and as the catcher threw the ball to second base, Martin rushed home to make it 7-6. Seo, who was caught in a rundown, was tagged out at first base.

The game tilted further in the bottom of the eighth. NC scored four runs in one inning, including a sacrifice fly by Kim Joo-won, to end Hanwha’s chances of catching up. Satisfied with their three runs in the top of the second and third innings, Hanwha was unable to capitalize on the NC bullpen as they went silent for six consecutive scoreless innings starting in the top of the fourth.

With starters Sanchez and Shin Min-hyuk both retiring after less than five innings, NC’s third pitcher, ‘rookie’ Lee Jun-ho, pitched 2⅔ innings of one-hit ball, striking out two and walking none to earn his third win of the season.

The Lotte Giants, whose chances of reaching the postseason are slim as the No. 1 seed, won the 15th game of the regular season against the LG Twins 8-1 at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul. With the win, Lotte snapped a three-game losing streak to LG and improved to 66-72 (.478). LG, which has lost three straight, is 84-2-54 (.609).

The two teams finished the first inning scoreless before Lotte took control with a big inning. After a leadoff single by Jeon Jun-woo and a walk to Goodrum put runners in scoring position in the top of the second inning, Han Dong-hee laced an RBI single with the bases loaded to give the team the lead.

But that wasn’t the end of the story, as a bases-loaded double play complicated things. Kim Ki-yeon, the catcher who threw the ball to first base on Jeong’s sacrifice bunt attempt, made a throwing error, and Jeong Joo-hyun, who threw the ball home through the basepaths, was way off. This allowed second baseman Gudrum to score, and first baseman Han Dong-hee and designated hitter Jung Dae-sun to reach third and second base, respectively.

Taking advantage of their opponent’s gap, Lotte added another run. With two outs, Son Sung-bin took Kang Hyo-jong’s first pitch and lined it up the middle, bringing home Han Dong-hee from third and Jung Dae-sun from second to complete the big inning.

LG started to chase in the bottom of the second inning when “rookie” Kim Bum-seok hit his first career home run, but he was unable to get anything past Lotte starter Shim Jae-min. Lotte, on the other hand, made it 5-1 in the top of the sixth thanks to an RBI single by Yoon Dong-hee, and added three more runs in the top of the seventh, including a solo shot by Jeon Jun-woo, to secure the win.

Lotte starter Shim Jae-min, who pitched 5 1/3 innings of four-hit ball with two walks and one strikeout, earned his first win in 26 days since his last outing against the Gwangju KIA on March 13, while at the plate, Ahn Kwon-soo produced the most hits for the team with a 4-for-3 performance with one RBI and one walk. Jeon Jun-woo and Han Dong-hee also contributed with multi-hit performances.토토사이트

LG starter Kang Hyo-jong struggled early in the game, giving up three runs on four hits and one walk in 1 1/3 innings as he fell victim to a series of errors by the fielders. The rest of the bullpen gave up runs as well, ending their three-game losing streak.

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