LG reduces its regular season win magic number to one.
LG won 5-4 against KT in the 2023 KBO League at KT Wiz Park in Suwon, South Korea, on Sunday. Veteran Kim Jin-sung overcame a bases-loaded situation and pitched two multi-inning innings to earn the save.캡틴토토
LG cut its magic number to two with the win over KT. Third-place NC lost to Hanwha again on the same day, bringing their magic number to 1. LG has three days off without a game. If KT and NC lose on the third day, LG will win the title. On the 3rd, KT will play KIA and NC will face SSG.
Kang Hyo-jong pitched 3⅔ innings, allowing two runs on four hits, one home run, two walks, and three strikeouts. Lee Woo-chan (⅓ inning), Park Myung-geun (1 inning), Choi Dong-hwan (1 inning), Baek Seung-hyun (1 inning), Kim Dae-hyun (0 innings), and Kim Jin-sung (2 innings) followed.
In the third inning, Park Hae-min went 1-for-2 with two RBIs, including the game-winning hit, and Kim Hyun-soo had two RBIs. Moon Sung-joo and Jung Ju-hyun each had two hits.
LG-KT Starting Lineups
KT’s starting lineup was Choi Jong-ho (designated hitter), Hwang Jae-gyun (third base), Alford (left field), Park Byung-ho (first base), Jeong Jae-dae (center field), Jang Jang-woo (catcher), Lee Ho-yeon (second base), Kim Sang-soo (shortstop), and Ahn Chi-young (right field). Sovereignty was the starter.
KT, which has to play a nine-game series, has been hit with injury woes. Manager Lee Kang-cheol said before the game against LG, “Benjamin is not feeling well, so he won’t be able to pitch tomorrow. We have two doubleheaders against KIA and no starter against Samsung on the 6th,” Lee sighed.
Benjamin also has a gallbladder condition due to accumulated fatigue. Lee said, “Benjamin has thrown a lot this year. He’s probably thrown more than he’s ever thrown in his life,” Lee said. Benjamin is 15-6 with a 3.59 ERA in 28 games this season. He has thrown 158 innings.
He recently threw back-to-back starts on four days’ rest. Benjamin made two consecutive starts on four days’ rest: on Sept. 12 against SSG, on Sept. 17 against Hanwha, and on Sept. 22 against KIA.
LG started Hong Chang-ki (right fielder), Park Hae-min (center fielder), Kim Hyun-soo (designated hitter), Austin (first baseman), Oh Ji-hwan (shortstop), Moon Sung-joo (left fielder), Jung Ju-hyun (third baseman), Heo Do-hwan (catcher), and Shin Min-jae (second baseman). The starting pitcher was Kang Hyo-jong. Park Dong-won was out of the lineup and Heo Do-hwan started at catcher.
Before the game, manager Yeom Kyung-yeop said, “Park Dong-won has a bad left wrist, so he’s getting a full rest today. He will get better with two days off until tomorrow.” Outfielder Lee Jae-won was sent down to the second team. “His batting pace is not good. I sent him down to train more. He needs to improve his hitting to be useful in the Korean Series.”
LG scores first
LG created a chance in the bottom of the third inning. Jung Ju-hyun led off with a single up the middle and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Heo Do-hwan. Shin Min-jae, No. 9, drew a walk to put runners on first and second.
Hong Chang-ki struck out, but Park Hae-min led off with a single to left. Shin Min-jae advanced to third on a passed ball, and the runner advanced to second on a left fielder-third baseman-first baseman double play. With runners on second and third, Kim Hyun-soo singled to right field, scoring two runs and giving LG a 3-0 lead.
KT fights back
In the second inning, KT’s leadoff hitter Park Byung-ho reached on a throwing error by the third baseman. After Choi Jae-dae struck out on three pitches, Jang Jang-woo singled to right to put runners on first and second.
However, Lee Ho-hyun grounded out to the first baseman, allowing Park Byung-ho to score from third. Lee was tagged out at first base. With runners on second and third, Kim Sang-soo grounded out to shortstop to end the threat.
KT rallied in the third inning after falling behind 0-2. One out later, Choi Soo-ho singled up the middle. Hwang Jae-gyun grounded out to shortstop to load the bases. Alford took a three-pitch slider on a one-pitch, one-strike pitch from Kang Hyo-jong for a two-run home run over the left field fence. It was his 16th home run of the season. It was such a big hit (130 meters) that the left fielder looked at the pitch at the moment of contact and did not follow through.
Trailing 3-2, Park Byung-ho drew a straight ball to center field. Choi Jae-dae singled through the left side, putting runners at first and second. Jang Jang-woo grounded out to shortstop, no out.
LG added a run. Bomb, bomb, lucky run
LG scored another run in the fifth inning against reliever Ha Jun-ho. One out later, Hong Chang-ki drew a straight bunt. Park Hae-min also drew a walk to put runners on first and second. Kim Hyun-soo singled to left field for the second out.
Ha Jun-ho’s first pitch to Austin was a wild pitch. The runners advanced to second and third. KT then walked Austin to load the bases with no outs. With two outs, Ha Jun-ho, facing Oh Ji-hwan, threw another wild pitch that went behind the catcher. The runner from third scored. LG extended its lead to 4-2.
KT switched pitchers from Ha Jun-ho to Kim Young-hyun. Oh Ji-hwan drew a walk to load the bases again, but Moon Sung-joo flied out to right field.
LG added a run in the seventh inning. One out later, Park Hae-min led off with a double. Kim Hyun-soo drew a walk to put runners on first and second.
LG rallies again
KT then switched pitchers from Kim Young-hyun to Jo Jo-hyun. Austin was retired on a foul out by the catcher. Oh Ji-hwan hit a double to center field, allowing the runner from second to score and make it 5-2.
KT pulls within one run, but the bases are loaded
In the top of the sixth inning, KT’s leadoff hitter Jang Jang-woo led off with an infield single down the third base line against reliever Choi Dong-hwan. However, Lee Ho-yeon’s throw to the plate was caught by the first baseman, resulting in a first baseman-to-first baseman double play.
Two batters later, Kim Sang-soo doubled down the third base line. Ahn Chi-young grounded out in front of the pitcher to end the threat.
KT led off the seventh inning against Baek Seung-hyun with a single up the middle. Hwang Jae-gyun grounded to the third baseman, advancing the runner to second. The bases were loaded with one out. Alford hit a bunt single to center field, putting runners on first and second.
Park Byung-ho struck out swinging on a 148 mph fastball on a full count. The pitch was well hit by Bae Joo-dae and he was out in front of the left fielder. A good scoring opportunity was missed.
LG’s bullpen was relieved by Kim Dae-hyun in the eighth inning. KT’s Jang Jang-woo drew a walk to start the inning. Pinch-hitter Moon Sang-chul then singled to left to put runners on first and second with no outs. Kim Sang-soo hit a two-run double down the left-field line to score a run and make it 5-3. Kim Sang-soo now has 600 career RBIs.
With runners on second and third, LG brought in Kim Jin-sung as a relief pitcher. Ahn Chi-young flied out to the catcher. Choi Soo-ho singled to center field, loading the bases. Hwang Jae-gyun singled on a full count to make it 5-4.
At least the game was tied, and the momentum was building toward an upset. However, Alford hit a two-ball into the dirt in front of the third baseman, leading to a 3-2-3-1 double play. At 5-4, they couldn’t get any closer and missed a golden opportunity.
Kim Jin-sung came on to pitch a multi-inning ninth inning with a 5-4 lead. He got Park Byung-ho to foul out to third base, Choi Jae-dae to fly out to left field, and Kim Jun-tae, the pinch-hitter, to strike out on three pitches to end the game.