The Lotte Giants defeated the Kiwoom Heroes for the second straight day to extend their lead at the top of the standings.
Lotte held off a late rally to win 6-5 against Kiwoom in the 2023 Shinhan Bank Solar KBO League at Gocheok Sky Dome on Sunday.
Riding a three-game winning streak, Lotte collected its 26th win of the season (15) to close to within 0.5 games of second-place SSG Landers (28 wins, 1 draw, 16 losses). Kiwoom, mired in a four-game losing streak, fell to 19 wins and 28 losses.
The game remained tied at 0-0 until the sixth inning, thanks to strong performances from both starting pitchers.
LOTTE starter Charlie Barnes held the Kiwoom bats scoreless over six innings, allowing just three hits and one walk. He struck out five.
Kiwoom starter Choi Won-tae matched him with six innings of three-hit ball, striking out six and walking two.
The pendulum swung firmly in Lotte’s favor in the seventh inning. Sparked by a lucky hit, Lotte exploded for six runs.
With one out in the top of the seventh, Noh Jin-hyuk’s slow infield grounder hit pitcher Kim Jae-woong’s glove and turned into an infield single.
After Han Dong-hee singled to left to put runners on first and second, LOTTE took the lead when Yoo Kang-nam hit a timely double to the right-center field fence.
With runners on second and third, Ahn Kwon-soo followed with a double to left-center field.
After Ahn Kwon-soo stole second and Kim Min-seok walked, Park Seung-wook doubled to left center to score a run. Then, Jeon Jun-woo’s pitch deflected off the pitcher and became an infield single, allowing Park Seung-wook to come home and extend the lead to 5-0.
After Ahn Chi-hong singled to put runners on first and second, Lotte got a run back when Yoon Dong-hee, who came to bat again, singled through the left side.
Trailing by a run, Kiwoom responded with a five-run ninth inning.
With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Kim Dong-heon led off with a double, and after Lee Hyung-jong was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Lim Ji-yeol drew a walk to bring in another run. Lim Byung-wook followed with a double to right.
However, Lee Jung-hoo was retired on a fielder’s choice to put Lotte on its knees.
With his team down 6-2 and the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, LOTTE reliever Kim Won-joong pitched ⅓ of an inning to earn the save. It was his 12th save of the season (2-1).
The starting pitching was also mixed, with Barnes picking up his third win of the season (2-2) while Choi Won-tae suffered through a silent batting lineup and bullpen fire.
For Lotte, Park Seung-wook went 2-for-4 with a home run and an RBI, while Ahn Kwon-soo went 2-for-4 with a home run and an RBI.
Kim Jae-woong, who came on in relief of Choi Won-tae in the top of the seventh, gave up four runs on four hits in ⅓ inning and suffered his second loss of the season (1-5).
At Gwangju-Kia Champions Field, the KIA Tigers defeated the LG Twins 6-3. Kia Tigers left-handed ace Yang Hyun-jong earned his 162nd career victory.
Yang went 6⅔ innings, allowing three runs on seven hits with three strikeouts and two walks. Entering the game in the top of the seventh inning with runners on first and second with KIA leading 6-3, Yang was able to hold on for the win as KIA did not allow the tying run to score.
The win was Yang’s third of the season (1-1) and his 162nd career victory.
Yang moved from a tie for second place on the all-time wins list with Jung Min-cheol with 161 to sole possession of second place.
Only Song Jin-woo now has more wins than Yang in KBO history. Song Jin-woo is at the top of the list with 210 career wins.
Yang Hyun-jong, who pitched eight scoreless innings against SSG in Gwangju on Sept. 9 to record his 161st career victory, failed to pick up a win in his next two games, but in his third attempt, he moved into sole possession of second place on the all-time wins list.
The KIA bats came out swinging, pounding out 10 hits in the first and second innings to help fuel Yang’s victory.
KIA took the lead in the first inning with a sacrifice fly by Choi Hyung-woo, but Yang Hyun-jong gave up three runs in the top of the second.
However, they rallied in the fourth inning.
In the bottom of the fourth, Choi Hyung-woo walked and Kim Sun-bin singled to put runners on first and second, and Byun Woo-hyuk hit a single to right.
With runners on first and second, pinch-hitter Lee Chang-jin hit a two-run double to right-center field to bring home both runners and make it a 4-3 game.
KIA got one run back in the bottom of the fifth when Kim Sun-bin doubled to left center with runners on first and second. In the bottom of the sixth inning, Lee Chang-jin singled and Kim Ho-ryung sacrificed to center field to put runners on first and second, and Park Chan-ho singled up the middle to make it 6-3.
After Yang Hyun-jong put runners on first and second in the top of the seventh, KIA opted to make a change. Choi Ji-min, who came on in relief, continued to threaten with a fastball and a walk, but struck out Oh Ji-hwan to preserve the lead.
Choi Ji-min pitched a scoreless eighth inning, and in the top of the ninth, KIA closer Jung Hae-young took over the mound. Jung gave up three hits and had the bases loaded, but struck out Moon Sung-joo and Oh Ji-hwan to preserve the win for his team and Yang Hyun-jong, earning his sixth save of the season (3-1).
With the win, KIA snapped a two-game losing streak and remained in sole possession of sixth place with 20 wins and 21 losses.
LG, which ended its two-game winning streak to get to 29 points, one draw and 16 losses, is now half a game behind second-place SSG, which did not play due to rain.
At Samsung Lions Park in Daegu, KT Wiz defeated the Samsung Lions 5-3.
KT, which beat Samsung for the 메이저놀이터 second consecutive day to extend its winning streak to four games, remained in ninth place with 16 wins, two draws and 26 losses.
Seventh-place Samsung, which lost its third straight, fell to 18-25.
KT’s bats tormented Samsung’s mound, pounding out 13 hits long and short.
Veteran infielder Kim Sang-soo, who joined KT from Samsung as a free agent after the 2022 season, went 3-for-5 with a home run, one RBI and one run scored.
Backed by the batting support, KT starter Wes Benjamin earned his sixth win of the season (3-3), allowing one run on four hits (one home run) with three strikeouts and two walks in five innings. He is tied for third in the league in wins.
Samsung’s foreign ace, David Buchanan, was tagged for five runs on 11 hits in four innings. Buchanan suffered his third loss of the season (3-3).
KT scored two runs in the second and third innings to take control of the game.
In the second inning, Moon Sang-chul singled and Oh Yoon-seok doubled.
With runners on first and second in the top of the fourth inning, Park Byung-ho lined a single to right-center field to extend the lead to 5-1.
In the bottom of the fifth, Benjamin gave up a run on a passed ball, but KT’s bullpen held strong to secure the three-run win. Kim Min-soo, Lee Chae-ho, Joo Kwon, and Son Dong-hyun pitched one scoreless inning each.
Son Dong-hyun came on in the bottom of the ninth to get a triple play and earn the save. It was the first save for Son, who made his professional debut in 2019, in his fifth year.
At Changwon NC Park, the Hanwha Eagles defeated the NC Dinos 5-0.
Avenging their loss the previous day, Hanwha remained tied for ninth place with 16 wins, two draws and 26 points. NC, with 22 wins and 22 losses, slipped from fourth to fifth place.
Hanwha foreign pitcher Felix Peña pitched six innings of five-hit ball, striking out four and walking none to earn the win for Hanwha. Peña earned his fourth win of the season (4-0).
Behind Peña, Hanwha scored three runs in the fifth inning to take the lead.
In the top of the fifth, with runners on first and second, Lee Jin-young laid down a sacrifice bunt that was misplayed by the opposing shortstop, allowing Jang Jin-hyuk, who was at second base, to come home.
With runners on second and third, Moon Hyun-bin hit a double to center field.
With the bullpen pitching a scoreless inning to preserve the lead, Hanwha added a run in the top of the eighth when Noh Si-hwan grounded out with runners on first and third and Jung Eun-won reached on a fielder’s choice.
Jang Jin-hyuk followed with a sacrifice fly to center field to give Hanwha a 5-0 lead.
NC starter Lee Jae-hak pitched six innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on six hits and three walks with two strikeouts, but the bats went silent and he took the loss. It was his first loss of the season.
Meanwhile, the game between SSG and the Doosan Bears, which was scheduled to take place at Jamsil Stadium, was canceled due to rain. The postponed game will be organized at a later date.