Kia Tigers and Doosan Bears, who are in a tight five-way race for the Hero Ticket, had a laugh. The 10th-ranked Kiwoom Heroes have a long way to go, and they’ve got the ankles of the busy 5th-ranked SSG Landers in their sights.
Kiwoom defeated SSG 4-2 in their regular-season home game of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at the Gocheok Sky Dome in Guro-gu, Seoul on Nov. 28.
In front of a crowd of 7082 fans on the first day of the Chuseok holiday, Kiwoom kept its hopes alive with a four-game winning streak to improve to 55 wins, three draws and 78 losses. SSG, on the other hand, remained on 65 wins, three draws and 63 losses, unable to reduce the gap to the fourth-place Doosan Bears (67 wins, two draws and 60 losses), who did not play on the day, and maintained a precarious lead over the sixth-place KIA Tigers.
Ariel Furado (Kiwoom), who had been pitching consistently well in the second half of the season, going 4-0 with a 2.45 ERA in nine games, was the star of the show. Hurado went six innings, allowing one run on four hits with one walk and five strikeouts to earn her 19th quality start of the season (six or more innings pitched and three or fewer earned runs allowed) and improve to 10-8 on the year.
At the plate, “reserve” Kim Byung-hwi, who returned to active duty in May of this year, recorded his first career hit, while Lee Ju-hyung, who batted third and center field, went 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI, including the game-winning hit in the fifth inning.
For SSG, starter Oh Won-seok pitched 6 1/3 innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits and three walks (one walk and two hit-by-pitches) with two strikeouts, but was unable to secure the win due to a stingy defense and an ineffective batting lineup.
September 28 SSG Landers – Kiwoom Heroes Starting Lineup
Kiwoom Byung-hwi Kim.
SSG’s batting order was Choo Shin-soo (designated hitter), Oh Tae-gon (first base), Choi Ju-hwan (second base), Guillermo Heredia (center field), Han Yu-seom (right field), Ha Jae-hoon (left field), Choi Hang (third base), Kim Sung-hyun (shortstop), and Kim Min-shik (catcher). Oh Won-seok was the starter.
Kiwoom’s batting order was Park Soo-jong (right fielder), Ronnie Dawson (left fielder), Lee Joo-hyung (center fielder), Lim Ji-yeol (first baseman), Song Sung-moon (third baseman), Kim Hui-jip (shortstop), Park Chan-hyuk (designated hitter), Kim Xiang (catcher), and Kim Byung-hwi (second baseman).
SSG removed catcher Lee Heung-ryun from the first team roster and signed Lee Jae-won in his place. Kiwoom called up infielder Kim Byung-hwi and catcher Kim Jae-hyun to replace Kim Hye-sung and Kim Dong-heon, who were sent to the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games. Before the game, Kiwoom head coach Hong Won-ki explained his decision to start Kim Byung-hwi, saying, “Kim Byung-hwi has been getting good reviews in the second team and hasn’t had a chance to start in the first team, so I wanted to see what he would look like as a starter.”
SSG coach Kim Won-hyung pointed to the bullpen as the key to the fifth-place fight, saying, “I think we should go with the players we have now (for the rest of the season). It’s not good enough for other players to enter the must-win group now. I think we have to operate according to the situation.”
‘I was a good successor to Kim Kwang-hyun’ Oh Won-seok, 6⅓ innings of QS ‘solid’ despite 4 consecutive errors in the infield
SSG Oh Won-seok.
SSG Kim Sung-hyun misses a ball.
On the day that main shortstop Park Sung-hyun left the country to participate in the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games, SSG felt the void. Kim Sung-hyun, who started at shortstop, and Choi Hang, the third baseman who replaced his brother, committed errors in every inning from the first to the fourth.
On the mound, however, Oh Won-seok held strong. In the first inning, Kim Sung-hyun allowed a run to score when he dropped the ball while trying to field a grounder from Dawson. The next batter, Lee Joo-hyung, used his quick feet to reach first base on a wild pitch, but Oh Won-seok retired Lim Ji-yeol on a fly ball to left field to end the inning.
In the second inning, the lead was gone. The leadoff hitter Song Sung-moon hit a grounder to the outfield that Kim Sung-hyun couldn’t catch. Song moved to second on a Kim Hwijip sacrifice bunt and came home on a Kim Xiang walk and Kim Byung-hwi’s single to right. Right fielder Han Yoo-seom tagged Kim Xiang out at third base to end the inning.
Kiwoom’s leadoff hitter reached on an error by Kim Sung-hyun in the third inning. Park Soo-jong’s slow grounder was late and the scorekeeper gave him an error. But Oh Won-seok worked the count with a slider to Dawson and induced a double play with a 141-kilometer-per-hour fastball for the second out. Kim Sung-hyun made up for his earlier error with a quick throw to second base. In the fourth inning, there was an error at third base. Kim Hui-jip’s grounder to first base was not caught by third baseman Choi Hang at once, allowing a run to score. However, Park Chan-hyuk and Kim Xiang were able to get out of the jam with just five pitches.
The fifth inning was the most disappointing. With two outs, Dawson gave up a double to left field and Lee Ju-hyung singled to left-center field. Lim Ji-yeol singled to left and it looked like the crisis would continue, but Song Sung-moon grounded out to end the inning.
The biggest crisis for Oh and SSG came in the seventh inning. Oh Won-seok walked Dawson to lead off the inning and was replaced by Lee Joo-hyung, who singled to left. Back-to-back walks loaded the bases, and even Choi Min-jun gave up a sacrifice fly to Kim Hwijip to center field, putting both runners on base for Oh Won-seok. Only a three-pitch strikeout of Park Chan-hyuk ended the long seventh inning.
However, Oh Won-seok has been pitching steadily since his 5⅔-inning, two-run relief win against the Incheon Lotte on June 23, allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits and three walks (one hit by pitch and two batted balls) with two strikeouts in 6⅓ innings. It was his fifth quality start of the season since June 3 against the Incheon Kiwoom (one run on six hits).
It was the 19th QS of the season, even after the team’s September ERA of 1.90… Kiwoom’s 4-game winning streak as the ‘chili powder’
Ariel Furado of Kiwoom.
Kiwoom Lee Ju-hyung.
In the absence of ace Ahn Woo-jin on the mound, there was Hurado, and in the absence of batting core Lee Jung-hoo and Kim Hye-sung, there was Lee Ju-hyung. Hurado pitched steadily throughout the game. He gave up a walk and a stolen base to Choo Shin-soo in the first inning, but retired 13 straight batters until the top of the fifth inning, including ending the third inning with seven pitches.
SSG was fortunate to get one run back in the fifth when Ha Jae-hoon and Choi Hang singled to put runners on first and third, but Kim Sung-hyun hit a sacrifice fly to right field. In the sixth, Oh Tae-gon and Heredia singled to put runners on second and third, but Han Yoo-seom grounded out to shortstop to complete his 19th quality start of the season.안전놀이터
From then on, SSG, who needed one run and one win, continued to look for a comeback, but couldn’t come up with any cool hits. In the eighth inning, pinch-hitter Kim Kang-min singled up the middle, but Choo Shin-soo struck out and Oh Tae-gon walked. In the ninth, Choi Joo-hwan walked and Han Yoo-seom singled to right to put runners on first and second against reliever Lim Chang-min, but Ha Jae-hoon made up for it with a single down the left field line.
Jeon Eui-san was retired on a fly ball to right field, but Kim Sung-hyun singled to right-center to load the bases. SSG brought in Lee Jung-bum in place of Lee Jae-won, but a well-hit pitch sailed into the right fielder’s glove, leaving Im Chang-min with the difficult task of becoming the 15th player in KBO history to record 120 saves.