Samsung… shake your head.
The Samsung Lions got back on track over the weekend, returning to a four-win season. The ninth-ranked Kiwoom Heroes, who lost homegrown ace Choi Won-tae to the LG Twins in a trade, shook their heads as they finished a three-game series without a win.
Samsung won 10-6 against Kiwoom at the Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on April 30. After scoring nine runs in the first inning, veteran Baek Jung-hyun responded with 5⅔ innings of two-run ball to complete the two-game series. The gap between the two teams has been reduced to three games.
Kiwoom’s Jang Jae-young got off to an early start as he struggled with his pitches. In the first inning, he walked Kim Sung-yoon to start the inning. Jang Jae-young, who gave up a single and four consecutive walks, was promptly ejected after hitting Kim Ji-chan in the head in the ninth inning. Even Ha Young-min, who was rushed to the mound, gave up a two-run double to Kim Hyun-joon as Kiwoom surrendered six runs in the first inning alone.
The fired-up Samsung bats didn’t stop in the second inning. Kang Kang-ul’s RBI triple and Ryu Ji-hyuk’s RBI single to right field, coupled with an error, plated three more runs. On the mound, Baek Jeong-hyun kept the Kiwoom bats scoreless until the fifth inning with his crisis management skills despite consistently walking runners. After scoring two runs in the sixth, Kiwoom scored four more in the seventh, capitalizing on Samsung’s bullpen struggles, but there would be no more.
Samsung, which restored its four-win season with a 7-2 victory the day before, finished its 18 games in July with a record of 9 wins, 1 loss and 8 ties. It was the first time since April (12 wins, 12 losses) that the team’s monthly winning percentage exceeded 5%.
It was the power of the batting lineup that led the way. Up until the day before, Samsung’s monthly team batting average was 0.289, which ranked first in the league. Once again, all of the starting batters except Kim Ji-chan recorded a hit. Kim Sung-yoon, Kang Min-ho, and Kang Kang-ul had multi-hit games, while transfer Ryu Ji-hyuk also had two runs and two RBIs. 안전놀이터
However, the bullpen’s weaknesses were not addressed on the day. Kim Tae-hoon, who had gotten out of a jam with one pitch in the sixth inning after Baek Jeong-hyun, gave up four consecutive hits in the top of the seventh. As a result, Woo Kyu-min was brought in to close out the game.
Kiwoom’s decision to send homegrown starter Choi Won-tae to LG, who was 6-4 with a 3.25 ERA this season, paid off. For the second game in a row, the starting pitcher was pulled early, leading to back-to-back losses. The batters, including Lee Joo-hyung, who had been paid the opposite salary, pounded out 12 hits, but it wasn’t enough to overturn the early deficit.