3rd→5th→6th→7th, Lotte’s endless fall…KIA sweeps 3-game weekend series to finish 6th

The Lotte Giants, who were in a “three-way tie” with the LG Twins and SSG Landers at the start of the 2023 baseball season, suffered three straight losses early in the second half of the season and ended up in seventh place.

Lotte lost 3-6 on the road against the Kia Tigers of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at Kia Champions Field in Gwangju on April 30.안전놀이터

The three-game weekend sweep dropped Lotte to seventh place, while Kia, which won three straight, moved up to sixth.

After Kim Do-young broke a 0-0 tie in the fourth inning with an inside-the-park double, KIA scored two runs in the sixth on Na Sung-beom’s RBI single to left, Socrates Brito’s RBI double to right-center field, Kim Sun-bin’s RBI single and Lee Woo-sung’s groundout.

After LOTTE missed out on runners on first and third in the top of the seventh, KIA scored three runs on Choi Hyung-woo’s RBI double to center field and Socrates’ sacrifice fly to center field to seal the win.

Lotte got two runs back in the bottom of the eighth on a walk-off single by Jeong Hoon and another in the ninth on an RBI single to right, but couldn’t get past KIA closer Jung Hae-young.

KIA’s Thomas Pannoni pitched 6⅔ scoreless innings to earn the win in his return to the KBO.

Won-tae Choi wins debut for ‘Twins’…LG wins 4th straight, Dusan loses 5th straight

The top-ranked LG Twins swept their respective three-game series over the weekend.

The Doosan Bears fell into a five-game losing streak after an 11-game winning streak, leaving third place unsecured.

LG swept the visiting Doosan 10-0 at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on March 30. It was LG’s fourth straight win.

LG is now 8-2 against Doosan this season, marking the second consecutive year that the team has outlasted Doosan in the series after last year, when it broke the “bear jinx” for the first time in eight years.

Choi Won-tae, a right-handed starter who was acquired from the Kiwoom Heroes to help LG end a 29-year wait for a Korean Series title, pitched a near-perfect six innings of two-hit ball with no walks and five strikeouts in his debut in a ‘Twins’ uniform.

He didn’t send a single Doosan batter to the plate until he gave up his first hit to Kang Seung-ho in the bottom of the fifth inning.

LG put runners on first and second with one out in the top of the first after walks to Moon Sung-ju and Austin Dean, then Moon Bo-kyung smashed a two-run double over the left field fence.

In the second inning, Heo Do-hwan drew a walk to load the bases and Hong Chang-ki followed with a clean single to right.

In the third inning, they capitalized on an error to take a 3-0 lead.

With runners on first and second, Son Ho-young singled to right, and after a wild pitch by Heo Do-hwan, Park Hae-min hit a two-run double to left.

At that point, Doosan catcher Yang Yang-ji, who received a fly ball from left fielder Kim Tae-geun, threw straight to third base to catch Heo Do-hwan, but the ball fell backwards, allowing both Heo and Park to come home.

LG added a single run in the fifth and sixth innings to complete the 8-0 victory.

■ KT No. 1 hitter Kim Min-hyuk had three RBIs, including a two-run home run…No. 4 NC stays in the hunt

KT also defeated the NC Dinos 5-2 in Changwon.

Fifth-place KT, which has been on a winning streak since June, erased a winless streak with a 0.5057 winning percentage to stay within striking distance of fourth-place NC, which is at 0.5059.

KT trails Doosan by one game and is within striking distance of a third-place finish. NC suffered a severe Wizard jinx as they lost their sixth straight game to KT.

First baseman Kim Min-hyuk led the way with three hits, including a two-run homer.

Kim Min-hyuk hit a come-from-behind two-run homer with runners on first and second in the third inning after falling behind 0-1, and then an infield single with runners on second and third in the fourth to make it 3-1.

In the top of the sixth inning, with runners on second and third and Kim Min-hyuk batting, the KT contingent took the wind out of NC’s sails with a shrewd throw to first base that caught the NC infield in a “rabbit hole” as Jang Jun-won raced from first to second, then rounded second to third and raced home.

After NC cut the deficit to 4-2 with Jason Martin’s double to left, KT kept the gap at three runs in the top of the seventh with Park Byung-ho’s RBI single to right.

After six innings of two-run ball, KT starter Wes Benjamin picked up his 11th win of the season, extending his winning streak to eight.

■ Samsung wins third straight with Jang Jae-young’s Jegoo Nanjo Kiwoom sacrifice…hopes for a breakthrough

The last-place Samsung Lions extended their winning streak to three games with a 10-6 victory over the Kiwoom Heroes at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul.

The game was virtually decided in the first inning thanks to the struggles of Kiwoom starter Jang Jae-young.

Jang gave up a run in the top of the first inning on a hit-by-pitch, a walk, and a hit-by-pitch, and another run on a walk when Kang Kang-ul was at bat.

In the second inning, Jang walked Ryu Ji-hyuk again to score the third run.

With two outs, Jang Jae-young hit Kim Ji-chan in the head with a fastball and was automatically ejected for a head shot.

Samsung scored four runs off of Jang’s six wild pitches. Jang Jae-young, who did not complete a full inning, became the second pitcher in history to give up the most pitches in a single inning.

With the bases loaded and two outs, Kim Hyun-jun lined a single to left-center off reliever Ha Young-min to make it 6-0. It was his first hit of the game.

Trailing 9-0 in the sixth inning, Kiwoom got two runs back on a Song Sung-moon RBI single and a “transfer student” Lee Ju-hyung triple to left, and scored four runs in the seventh off Samsung bullpen Kim Tae-hoon, but they couldn’t get any closer.

SSG reaches 50 wins for the second time with Choi’s game-winning two-run double

Second-ranked SSG Landers became the second team after LG to reach the 50-win mark with a 6-1 victory over the Hanwha Eagles at home in Incheon.

With runners on first and second in the fifth inning, tied 1-1, Joo Po Choi hit a game-winning double to left-center field. Choi came home on an error by Han Hwa to extend the lead to 4-1.

SSG veteran infielder Kim Sung-hyun drove in a run in the eighth inning with a double to left-center field that cleared the shortstop’s key.

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