The Doosan Bears clinched a spot in the postseason with a win over the LG Twins. The win also erased the KIA Tigers’ chances of fall baseball.
On Thursday, Doosan, led by manager Lee Seung-yeop, won its third straight game with a 3-2 victory over LG in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul, improving its record to 74-2, with a winning percentage of 0.532. With the win, Doosan clinched a postseason berth regardless of the outcome of their remaining games and will begin fall baseball in the top three, depending on the outcome of their remaining three games.
Doosan’s starting lineup: Jeong Soo-bin (center field), Cho Sun-hyun (right field), Rojas (designated hitter), Yang Ji (catcher), Yang Seok-hwan (first base), Kim Jae-hwan (left field), Kang Seung-ho (second base), Kim Jae-ho (shortstop), and Park Jun-young (third base). Starting pitcher Brandon Waddell.
LG starting lineup: Park Hae-min (center field) Hong Chang-ki (right field) Kim Hyun-soo (left field) Austin (first base) Oh Ji-hwan (shortstop) Moon Bo-kyung (third base) Kim Min-seong (second base) Lee Jae-won (designated hitter) Heo Do-hwan (second base). Starting pitcher Kim Yun-sik.
Doosan had a chance to score in the top of the first inning, but blew it on a bizarre play. After LG starter Kim Yun-sik led off with a single to left field, Cho Sung-bin was thrown out at the plate on a grounder to first base. Cho then stole second, and Rojas followed with a single to right.
It was a chance for a maximum of one run and a minimum of runners on first and third, but Cho was thrown out on a rundown, and Rojas was caught trying to advance, ending the inning in vain.
In the bottom of the first, LG got Park Hae-min and Hong Chang-gi to fly out to Brandon, and Kim Hyun-soo grounded out to the second baseman on the third pitch, ending the inning in five pitches. In the top of the second, Doosan put runners on first and second with back-to-back singles by Yang Yang-ji and Yang Seok-hwan, and Kim Jae-hwan walked, but with runners on second and third, Kang Seung-ho’s infield single brought in Yang Yang-ji to take the lead.
LG responded with a home run. In the bottom of the first inning, Austin led off with a solo home run over the left-center field fence on a 123 km/h curveball from Brandon. It was Austin’s 23rd home run of the season, and LG immediately tied the game at 1-1. Moon Bo-kyung followed with a walk, but was unable to capitalize.
The third inning was more of the same. With Kim Yun-sik down and Lee Jung-yong on the mound, Doosan started the inning with Park Joon-young singling up the middle after Kim Jae-ho grounded out to third, and Park advanced to third on Jung Soo-bin’s grounder, but Cho Su-hyun retired the next batter on a fly ball to left field to end the inning. LG ended the inning with Lee Jae-won striking out, Heo Do-hwan flying out to third, and Park Hae-min flying out to center.
No one got on base in the fourth inning. In the top of the fourth, Doosan hit back-to-back infield singles by Rojas and Yang, and Yang struck out swinging. In the bottom of the fourth, LG ended the inning with a Hong Chang-ki strikeout, a Kim Hyun-soo grounder to second base, and an Austin grounder to third base.
In the top of the fifth, Doosan started the inning with Kang Seung-ho leading off with a single to right after Kim Jae-hwan grounded out to second, but Park Jun-young singled up the middle to put runners on first and third. However, Jung Soo-bin, who hit a forked ball from Lee Jung-yong, was stranded at first base.
LG also failed to capitalize on its chances. In the bottom of the fifth, Oh Ji-hwan led off with a double to left but was caught trying to get to third base. Moon Bo-kyung followed with a single to left to make matters worse. Kim Min-sung followed with a grounder to second and Lee Jae-won was hit by a pitch to end the threat.
In the top of the sixth inning, Doosan led off with a double to right, but Rojas struck out swinging, Yang Ji fouled out to the catcher, and Yang Suk-hwan grounded out to the pitcher. In the bottom of the sixth, Heo Do-hwan and Park Hae-min struck out before Hong Chang-ki led off with a double to left. An in-play ball hit the ball boy and a second base call was made. However, Kim Hyun-soo fumbled the bat on Brandon’s slider, ending the inning.
It wasn’t until the seventh inning that additional runs were scored. In the top of the seventh, Kim Jae-hwan led off with a single, advanced to second on an error by the first baseman, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Kang Seung-ho, and scored on a squeeze bunt by Kim Jae-hwan. The score was 2-1, and Doosan had regained the lead.
LG tied the game in the bottom of the eighth inning. Doosan sent Brandon down to the mound to face Jung Chul-won, who struck out the leadoff batter, Kim Min-sung, with three pitches. However, Lee Jae-won hit a five-pitch 134 km/h slider from Jung Chul-won for a solo home run over the left field fence to tie the game at 2-2. Lee Jae-won’s fourth home run.
Doosan took the lead again in the top of the ninth. LG brought in Jung Woo-young, but he gave up a full-count walk to Yang Seok-hwan. Pinch-hitter Lee Yoo-chan then stole second and advanced to third on Kim Tae-geun’s grounder. Kang Seung-ho followed with a single to right field to bring in Lee, making it 3-2 in favor of Doosan.
LG had runners on first and second in the bottom of the ninth when Hong Chang-ki singled against Kim Kang-ryul and Moon Sung-joo walked, but reliever Kim Myung-shin struck out Austin, Oh Ji-hwan, and Moon Bo-kyung to preserve the win and end the game.
Doosan starter Brandon didn’t get the win, but he pitched seven innings, allowing one run on four hits (one home run) and one walk while striking out seven. Kim Myung-shin, who preserved the win with a one-run deficit, earned his first career save. At the plate, Kang Seung-ho stood out with three hits and two RBIs, including the game-winning hit.
After the game, Kang Seung-ho reflected on his performance, saying, “As a professional player, it’s natural to play every game, but today’s game was more meaningful because it was the game that clinched our spot in the postseason.”
“Definitely, the postseason is more tense than the regular season. At least for me, I think that tension worked in a good way, not as a poison. I think it makes you focus a little more because there are a lot of fans who come and cheer for you nonstop.”
“But it’s still early to think about the postseason. The outcome of our last three regular season games will determine where we start the fall. We will do our best in every game and start the fall on a higher note,” he concluded.
After reaching the postseason in his first year in charge, Lee said, “First of all, the fans are the reason we are able to play fall baseball. We haven’t forgotten the fans’ enthusiastic support from the first game on opening day to today. Thanks to them, the coaches and players were able to gain strength. We are very grateful.”
“For the remaining games, if our players continue to play as well as they have been, I think we will have a good result. We will do our best to win every game with the bench and players as one.”
Sixth-place KIA, which did not play on the day, saw its hopes of qualifying for the fall baseball season end with Doosan’s win, making the outcome of the remaining two games of the regular season meaningless. KIA now has 71 wins, two draws and 69 losses in 142 games. They have a five-game lead over the seventh-place Lotte Giants, effectively clinching sixth place regardless of the outcome of their remaining games.
The loss to Doosan on the 13th was particularly painful. The day before, KIA lost a 1-3 game against Doosan at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul. After starter Kim Gun-gook was pulled after giving up three runs in 2⅔ innings, Park Jun-pyo, Yoon Jun-hyung, Kim Dae-yu, Lim Ki-young, and Jang Hyun-sik pitched the remaining innings in relief, but were unable to overturn the score.
Against Doosan starter Kwak Bin, KIA batters struggled, committing nine walks. They totaled just three hits against Kwak Bin (6 innings), Hong Gun-hee (1 inning), Kim Myung-shin (1 inning), and Kim Kang-ryul (1 inning), and the only KIA runs of the 토토사이트 day came in the top of the fourth inning on back-to-back singles by Kim Sun-bin and Socrates and a sacrifice fly by Lee Woo-sung.
KIA lost Na Sung-beom to a hamstring and Choi Hyung-woo to a collarbone injury in late September, and then Park Chan-ho to a fractured left arm in early October. It was a disappointing result for KIA, who had struggled to hold on to their top-five hopes despite the injuries to their main players.