‘7th one-run loss’ June nightmare… Kia gets ‘one-run phobia’ from this

KIA lost 1-2 against the Kiwoom Heroes at the Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on Thursday. The loss was KIA’s fifth straight away from 안전놀이터 Gocheok this season without a win, extending their 2-6 series deficit against Kiwoom. With the loss, KIA fell into a three-game losing streak and remained in sixth place in the league with 25 wins and 30 losses on the season.

It was a disappointing game for KIA in many ways. The bats pounded out nine hits, but none of them were for extra bases. Socrates’ grounder in the top of the third inning with runners on first and third was the only hit of the game. Kiwoom, on the other hand, managed just five hits, but easily scored two runs in the fourth inning on Lee Jung-hoo’s triple and Russell’s RBI single, and in the sixth on Kim Hye-sung’s triple and Lee Jung-hoo’s sacrifice fly. KIA starter Sean Anderson, who had been mentioned as a possible replacement, struggled through seven innings, allowing two runs on five hits and striking out nine, but the lack of run support cost him his sixth loss of the season.

It was KIA’s seventh one-run loss in June. It followed a 5-6 loss to the Lotte Giants on the 3rd, a sweep of the SSG Landers on the 6th through 8th (1-2, 8-9, 4-5), a 2-3 loss to the Doosan Bears on the 11th, and a 0-1 loss to Kiwoom on the 13th. The team did not fare as badly in one-run games, going 3-2 in April and 2-2 in May, but lost all of its one-run games in June. KIA is 5-11 in one-point games (0.313 winning percentage), the weakest of the 10 teams in the league.

The team is worried about developing a “one-point game phobia” due to repeated close losses. Of KIA’s 30 losses this season, more than one-third, 11, have been by one point. As the number of close games increases, the team’s pitching staff becomes more frequent and tired. The mental toll of missing out on a game that could have been won also takes a toll on the players, and the team’s mood is bound to sink.

Without a full complement of players, KIA has managed to hold onto its mid-table position, but it has been slipping lately. The gap between them and fifth-place Doosan has grown to 3.5 games, and they have fallen to one game behind seventh-place Kiwoom, which has won four straight games. It remains to be seen when KIA will break their one-point losing streak.

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