The LG Twins are finally on the verge of winning their first regular season title in 29 years.
LG won 5-4 against visiting KT Wiz in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at Katie Wiz Park in Suwon on Sunday, thanks to a strong bullpen effort and the cohesion of its bats.
By defeating second-placed KT, first-placed LG finally reduced its ‘magic number’ for the regular season title to one as third-placed NC Dinos also lost on the day.
With nine games remaining, LG needs just one more win to clinch the regular season title on its own and head directly to the Korean Series.
The last time LG finished first in the regular season was in 1994, when they won the Korean Series.
LG, who started rookie Kang Hyo-jong, who was called up from the second team, showed great concentration as they scored all their runs in the second inning.
With runners on first and second in the top of the third, Park Hae-min led off with a single to left and Kim Hyun-soo followed with a double to right to make it 3-0.
KT cut the deficit to 2-3 when Anthony Alford hit a two-run home run to left field after a pitching change.
However, LG scored a run in the top of the fifth off KT’s second pitcher Ha Jun-ho after three walks and two wild pitches to take a 4-2 lead.
In the seventh, with runners on first and second, Oh Ji-hwan doubled down the right field line to score a run and make it 5-2.
KT scored a run in the bottom of the eighth when Kim Sang-soo doubled with runners on first and second, and Hwang Jae-gyun drew a bases-loaded walk to cut the deficit to 4-5.
However, Alford struck out the side with the bases loaded to end the threat.
LG’s starter Kang Hyo-jong went down after giving up two runs in 3⅔ innings, but Lee Woo-chan (⅓), Park Myung-geun (1), Choi Dong-hwan (1), Baek Seung-hyun (1), Kim Dae-hyun (0), and Kim Jin-sung (2) followed to keep KT at bay until the end.
In Daejeon, the Hanwha Eagles blasted four home runs in a 10-0 victory over third-placed NC.
Hanwha opened the scoring in the first inning with a Nick Williams double.
In the third inning, with runners on first and second, Moon Hyun-bin singled to right, and one inning later, Williams hit a three-run homer to right to make it 5-0.
Chae Eun-sung hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning and Lee Jin-young followed with a solo shot in the seventh inning before Chae again hit a two-run blast to make it 10-0 and put the game out of reach.
Hanwha starter Felix Peña pitched six innings of three-hit ball with nine strikeouts to pick up his 11th win of the season.
Hanwha veteran pitcher Jung Woo-ram struck out the side in the top of the seventh inning to become the first KBO player to reach the 1,000-game milestone.
In Jamsil, the Doosan Bears defeated the Kiwoom Heroes 7-2.
Doosan took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Yang Seok-hwan hit a hard double off Jang Jae-young after three walks loaded the bases.
After Jang was hit in the head by a pitch and replaced by Yoon Seok-won, Doosan scored two more runs on a sacrifice fly by Kim Jae-hwan and an RBI single by Kang Seung-ho to take a 4-0 lead.
Park Jun-young hit a two-run double in the third and Doosan added a run in the sixth to take a commanding 7-0 lead.
Kiwoom got two runs back in the top of the ninth on an RBI single by Lim Ji-yeol.
Doosan starter Brandon Waddell pitched six innings of three-hit ball to improve to 10-3.
Fourth-place Doosan, which has won eight straight against Kiwoom, moved to within half a game of third-place NC.
In Busan, where the doubleheader was split, the Samsung Lions beat Lotte 9-8 in game one before taking game two 8-6.
With two more wins on the day, Samsung moved up one spot to eighth, ahead of Hanwha.
Samsung took a 6-3 lead in the top of the fifth inning when Kang Min-ho hit a three-run homer to left field after the score was tied 3-3 in game one.
In the sixth, Lee Jae-hyun doubled with two outs and Koo Ja-rook hit a two-run homer to right to make it 9-3.
LOTTE scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh with five hits, including a two-run double by Jeon Jun-woo, and then Nico Goodrum hit an RBI single in the eighth to cut the deficit to 8-9, but could not overturn the deficit.
In the second game, Lotte scored three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning on an error to take a 5-2 lead.
However, Samsung took advantage of a LOTTE error in the top of the fifth, combining three hits and two walks to score four runs and take a 6-5 lead.
After the teams traded runs in the sixth, Samsung scored a run in the top of the eighth to take the lead for good.
Lotte committed 14 errors in the game. 파워볼분석