The Lotte Giants of the KBO started the month of May with a nine-game winning streak, their longest in 15 years, but have been on a downward spiral since then, losing six straight games already, making fall baseball increasingly distant.
The Hanwha Eagles, who finished last (10th) for three consecutive seasons (2020, 2021, 2022) and remained in last place until June 21 this year, also opened July with an eight-game winning streak for the first time in 18 years after a nine-game winning streak from the Doosan Bears on June 4 to the KIA on June 14, but have now lost five straight games to fall to ninth place.
The Lotte Giants suffered their sixth consecutive defeat, falling 6-8 to the KT Wiz in their 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League home game at Sajik Stadium in Busan on July 26 due to a botched pitching strategy.
Lotte was unable to break the jinx against KT, falling to its eighth straight loss.
Trailing 2-5 in the top of the eighth inning, Lotte’s fourth pitcher, Koo Seung-min, turned the game around.
Anthony Alford led off with a double to right-center, and Oh Yoon-seok followed with a single to left.
Shin Bong-ki singled to right and Kim Min-hyuk walked to load the bases for KT.
The Lotte bench didn’t want to change Koo Seung-min’s pitch, even though it wasn’t very good, but when the bases were loaded, they took the ball away.
Closer Kim Won-joong came up, but he got Park Kyung-soo to hit a line drive that fell in front of the left fielder.
Lotte left fielder Ahn Kwon-soo fumbled the ball, allowing the runner from second to score, and third baseman Niko Gudrum’s home run to short left set up a weird situation where all three KT runners scored.
Lotte tied the game at 6-6 in the bottom of the eighth on Yoon Dong-hee’s RBI single to right, but gave up two runs in the top of the ninth on Goodrum’s third throwing error of the day and a sacrifice fly by Shin Bon-ki.
Second-place KT cut its lead over LG to 5.5 games.
■ Yang Hyun-jong wins his 163rd career start…ties Song Jin-woo for the top spot
In Gwangju, the KIA Tigers defeated the Hanwha Eagles 12-4. It was Hanwha’s fifth straight loss.
KIA ace Yang Hyun-jong, who returned to the first team after being recalled from the second team due to a recent slump, pitched six innings of two-run ball to earn his 163rd career start in just his fifth attempt, tying him with Song Jin-woo for first place in the category.
Song Jin-woo, the all-time wins leader (210), has 163 starts and 47 relief wins. Yang Hyun-jong has been a starter exclusively since his debut in 2007, earning 165 of his 163 wins as a starter and adding two relief wins.
The KIA bats scored five runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, trailing 1-2, to help Yang set the record.
After back-to-back singles by Choi Hyung-woo and Socrates Brito put runners on first and second with no outs, Kim Sun-bin stepped up to the plate and lined a single to left to tie the game at 2-2.
After Kim Tae-gun singled to left, Choi Won-jun doubled to right-center and Park Chan-ho singled up the middle to score four runs in quick succession.
They added five more runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to completely snuff out the Eagles’ wings. The KIA bats scored 12 runs on 18 hits, including all of its starters hitting for the third time this season.
■ NC’s Kwon Hee-dong hits a game-winning three-run shot… Leader LG loses another shocker
On this day in professional baseball, memorable home runs were hit all over the country.
It was also the third time in history that two inside-the-park home runs were hit in a single day, after 1988 and 1992.
The NC Dinos won a 7-5 home game against the top-ranked LG Twins at Changwon NC Park in Gyeongnam on April 26, thanks to Kwon Hee-dong’s game-tying three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning.
NC, which had defeated LG the day before with a record-setting hit and run by every batter in the lineup, shocked LG again with a dramatic cannonball that came from the brink of defeat.
With the score tied at 1-1, LG scored four runs in the sixth inning on Austin Dean’s RBI single to left, Oh Ji-hwan’s solo arching double to right, Moon Bo-kyung’s leadoff triple and an infield grounder to take a 5-1 lead.
NC pulled within one run in the sixth inning on Kim Joo-won’s inside-the-park home run. Kim raced home after LG left fielder Moon Sung-ju made a sliding catch and dropped it.
After Do Tae-hoon’s solo shot in the eighth cut the deficit to 3-5, NC made its final push in the bottom of the ninth.
After two batters were retired by LG reliever Ko Woo-seok, Park Min-woo kept the spark alive with a single up the middle.
Park’s infield hit on the second baseman’s side proved to be the difference for NC.
Park Gun-woo’s hit was called out by the second base umpire. If the ball hits the umpire, the ball is dead, the batter becomes a runner, and the runner in scoring position is given a safe pass.
In what would end up being a win for LG, NC had runners on first and second, and Jason Martin singled up the middle to drive in Park.
Shaken by three straight hits, Go Woo-seok faced Kwon Hee-dong, who had been silent in four at-bats with runners on second and third.
On a full count, Kwon didn’t hesitate when Go Woo-seok’s fastball was in the middle of the strike zone, and he turned the bat around and launched a three-run home run like a missile into the left field foul pole.
Samsung’s Oh Jae-il turns the tide in the eighth inning with a grand slam.
The Samsung Lions defeated the Kiwoom Heroes 6-5 at Samsung Lions Park in Daegu.
Trailing 2-5 in the bottom of the eighth inning, Oh Jae-il’s single was the difference in the game.
Kiwoom starter Ariel Furado battled back from two runs in the seventh inning and handed the baton to Moon Sung-hyun in the eighth with a 5-2 lead.
However, Moon gave up back-to-back singles to Lee Jae-hyun and Kim Ji-chan and walked into the dugout in a daze.
Lee Myung-jong, who came on in relief, hit Kang Min-ho with a pitch to load the bases.
In the eighth inning, Oh Jae-il, who came in as a pinch-hitter, picked a pitch and lifted the outside pitch from Lee Myung-jong over the right-center field fence for a 120-meter grand slam. It was Oh’s eighth career grand slam.
In the ninth inning, Oh Seung-hwan retired the next three batters to earn the save.
SSG stuns Doosan with back-to-back home runs by Ha Jae-hoon and Jeon Jeon-san in the eighth inning
At Jamsil Stadium in Seoul, the SSG Landers halted the Doosan Bears’ winning streak at four games with a 7-5 comeback victory.
SSG turned the game around in dramatic fashion in the top of the eighth inning, trailing 3-5.
With the bases loaded, Ha Jae-hoon hit a big shot that directly hit the left-center field wall. Doosan center fielder Jung Soo-bin made a great leap to catch the ball, but fell and the ball went sideways, allowing first baseman Kim Kang-min and Ha Jae-hoon to cross the plate. 먹튀검증
Jae-hoon hit a tying inside-the-park home run.
Soon after, Jeon Ui-san hit a solo arch to center field to make it 6-5.
In their final at-bat in the top of the ninth inning, SSG took advantage of a bad pitch from opposing pitcher Jung Chul-won to score one more run and tie the game.