The Lotte Giants kept their fall baseball hopes alive with a win over the LG Twins, who clinched the pennant race this season.
The Lotte Giants won the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League away game against the LG Twins 8-1 at Jamsil Stadium on September 9.
With the win, Lotte snapped a three-game losing streak to LG and improved to 66 wins and 72 losses. Lotte was facing elimination from the postseason with a loss, but the sweep kept their hopes alive for a postseason berth. Lotte sits in seventh place in the league. They have four games in hand over the sixth-place KIA Tigers. However, they are seven games behind the fifth-place NC Dinos, which is the minimum to qualify for the postseason.
On the other hand, LG, which has already clinched the regular season title, has 84 wins, two draws, and 54 losses, along with three straight losses. After clinching the regular season title, LG entered full-scale Korean Series preparation mode by resting and fielding its main players.
For Lotte, starting pitcher Shim Jae-min earned his third win of the season with 5⅓ innings of four-hit ball, two walks, one strikeout and one run (one earned). He totaled 82 pitches. Prior to this game, Shim, who was primarily used out of the bullpen, had appeared in 31 games this season, posting a 2-1 record with a 4.46 ERA in six appearances. It was Sim’s third start of the season and his third win in as many starts, as he earned the win against SSG on August 17 and KIA on September 13. He had previously picked up his first win of the season on September 13 against KIA.
Shin Jeong-rak pitched a no-hitter with three strikeouts in 1⅔ innings (15 pitches), Lee Jin-ha pitched a scoreless inning (10 pitches), and Woo Kang-hoon pitched a scoreless inning (16 pitches) with one hit, one walk, and one strikeout to secure the win for Lotte. Woo, who was selected by Lotte with the 41st pick in the second five rounds of the 2021 KBO Draft, was converted from a developmental player to a full-time player prior to the game on April 4. He underwent Tommy John surgery (elbow ligament splicing) ahead of his professional career, rehabilitated, and fulfilled his military obligations at the end of 2021. He made his professional debut on May 5 against Sasik LG, where he pitched two innings of two-strikeout perfection. He made a strong impression on Lotte fans with his fastball, which reached a maximum velocity of 151 kilometers per hour.
After his debut, Woo told Star News, “I wasn’t nervous until I went out, but I was nervous when I pitched in practice. But after I got one batter, I felt comfortable and threw my ball. Senior Yoo Kang-nam said, ‘Throw hard and throw confidently,’ so I trusted him. I just looked at the middle and kept throwing,” he said. “I couldn’t throw a lot of balls while watching baseball in the army, but I grew my body a lot, mainly through weight training. My first start was at Sajik Stadium, so it was even better. As soon as I got up there, I heard the fans cheering for each ball, so I threw harder.” On the same day, Kang-hoon Woo pitched a scoreless first inning to delight the Lotte fans.
Lotte’s Kang-hoon Woo smiles after the game.
The Lotte bats, which pounded out 11 hits, were led by leadoff hitter Ahn Kwon-soo, who went 4-for-3 with a home run, an RBI, and a walk, while Jeon Jun-woo went 2-for-3 with a home run, a walk, an RBI, and two runs scored in the seventh inning. Han Dong-hee also contributed with five hits, two doubles, one RBI and two runs scored.
LG, on the other hand, suffered the yoke of defeat as starter Kang Hyo-jong fell apart early, allowing four runs (three earned) on four hits and one walk in 1 1/3 innings. He totaled 36 pitches. Kang Hyo-jong is a future starter, having started as LG’s fifth starter this season. He has started all seven games this year, posting a 1-2 record with a 6.23 ERA. In 21⅔ innings pitched, he has allowed 25 hits (one home run), 12 walks, 14 strikeouts, 18 runs (15 earned), a WHIP of 1.71 and a batting average of .298. Kang Hyo-jong made his first start since returning from a five-month hiatus from the first team on April 2 against KT, but left the mound without a win after giving up two runs (two earned) on four hits (one home run) with two walks and three strikeouts in 3⅔ innings.
LG then used seven bullpen members for the ninth inning. Lee Woo-chan took the mound as the second pitcher and pitched 1⅔ innings (18 pitches) of no-hit ball with one strikeout and one walk before handing the mound over to Lee Sang-young. Lee Sang-young then pitched 2 innings of 1 hit, 1 walk and 1 hit-by-pitch, followed by Choi Dong-hwan with 1 inning of 1 hit, 1 walk and 1 run (1 earned), before Park Myung-geun faltered with 0 innings of 3 hits (15 pitches), 1 walk and 3 runs (3 earned). Yoon Hosol followed with 1 inning of 1-hit, 1-ball, 1-strikeout ball, Lee Sang-gyu pitched 1 inning of 1-hit, 1-strikeout, no-hit ball, and Oh Seok-joo pitched 1 inning of 2-hit, no-hit ball. The LG bats were limited to five scattered hits. Park Hae-min, Moon Sung-joo, Austin, Seo Gun-chang, and Kim Bum-seok (one home run) each had one hit.
Kang Hyo-jong started for LG.
Shim Jae-min for Lotte.
Gold medal heroes from the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games return to their respective teams… Only Yasu made the first team roster and played in the game.
Lotte’s starting batting order was Ahn Kwon-soo (right fielder), Kim Min-seok (center fielder), Lee Jeong-hoon (designated hitter), Jeon Jun-woo (left fielder), Gudrum (shortstop), Han Dong-hee (first baseman), Jung Dae-sun (second baseman), Son Sung-bin (catcher), and Park Seung-wook (third baseman). LG’s starting lineup was Ahn Ik-hoon (right fielder), Park Hae-min (center fielder), Moon Sung-joo (left fielder), Austin (designated hitter), Kim Min-seong (third baseman), Kim Bum-seok (first baseman), Jeong Ju-hyun (second baseman), Son Ho-young (shortstop)스포츠토토, and Kim Ki-yeon (catcher). Prior to the game, attention was drawn to the rosters of players from both teams’ national teams that competed at the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games. Instead of adding Yoon Dong-hee to the first team roster, Lotte cleared Hwang Sung-bin from the first team roster. Lotte’s two national team pitchers, Park Se-woong and Na Kyun-an, were not registered on the roster. Yoon Dong-hee came in as a pinch-hitter in the second inning and went 1-for-4 with an RBI single in the sixth. LG also kept pitchers Ko Woo-seok and Jeong Woo-young off the first team roster, but only Moon Bo-kyung made the first team. Moon came in as a pinch hitter in the ninth inning but struck out.
Both starters allowed hits in the first inning. LG’s Kang Hyo-jong got off to a rough start in the top of the first, giving up a leadoff single to Ahn Kwon-soo on a seven-pitch count, but he induced Kim Min-seok into an infield grounder and then got Lee Jung-hoon to pop out to shortstop. In the bottom of the first, Shim gave up a leadoff single to Park Hae-min and a stolen base, then gave up a walk to Austin, but got Kim Min-seong to fly out to right field.
LG starter Kang Hyo-jong falls early in the second inning
In the second inning, Lotte scored four runs against Kang Hyo-jong to take control of the game. After leadoff hitter Jeon Jun-woo singled and moved to second on a wild pitch, Goodrum drew a walk. Han Dong-hee followed with a single up the middle to make it 1-0. The next batter, Jung Dae-sun, laid down a sacrifice bunt, but a throwing error by the catcher allowed Goodrum to score from second base.(2-0) Son Sung-bin followed with an RBI single to make it 4-0. Park Seung-wook then reached on a fielder’s choice to put runners on first and second, and LG catcher Kim Ki-yeon was replaced by Heo Do-hwan in the next batter, Ahn Kwon-su. After Ahn laid down a sacrifice bunt, LG switched pitchers to Lee Woo-chan, who struck out pinch-hitter Yoon Dong-hee before inducing Lee Jung-hoon to ground out to first base to end the long second inning.
LG’s Kang Hyo-jong (left) comes off the mound in the second inning.
LG rookie Kim Bum-seok hits his first home run as a professional.
LG answered right back. In the bottom of the second inning, Kim Bum-seok led off with a full count and took a six-pitch high curveball over the left field fence for a solo arch. It was Kim’s first professional home run in seven games. Kim even picked up his own bat on the way home after stepping on third base. His LG teammates had already gathered in a circle and performed a separate ceremony before he entered the dugout, but Kim joined the procession himself, and his seniors gave him a little way before patting him on the back and congratulating him on his first home run. However, LG was unable to score any more runs as the next three batters all walked.
LG’s Kim Bum-seok (right) circles the bases after hitting a home run in the second inning.
LG’s Kim Bum-seok picks up his bat after hitting his first career home run in the second inning.
LG’s Kim Bum-seok high-fives the coaching staff in the dugout after hitting a home run in the second inning.
Lotte’s Shim Jae-min continued to pitch well. In the bottom of the third, he got leadoff hitters Ahn Ik-hoon and Park Hae-min to fly out to shortstop, then gave up a single to Moon Sung-joo and a walk to Austin. However, he induced Kim Min-seong to fly out to left field on the first pitch to put out the fire. In the bottom of the fourth, he got Kim Bum-seok to fly out to first base, Jung Joo-hyun to fly out to left field, and Son Ho-young to ground out to shortstop. In the fourth inning, he threw only two pitches to each batter, totaling six pitches. He continued to build on his momentum in the bottom of the fifth, striking out Heo Do-hwan, Ahn Ik-hoon, and Park Hae-min.
With Shim Jae-min on the mound, Lotte added another run in the sixth inning. With the pitching change from Lee Sang-young to Choi Dong-hwan, leadoff hitter Son Sung-bin drew a walk. After a sacrifice bunt by Park Seung-wook-hee and a grounder to first by Ahn Kwon-soo, Son moved to third on Yoon Dong-hee’s single to left-center (5-1). Yoon stole second, but failed to score as Lee Jung-hoon grounded out to center field. Lotte loaded the bases in the bottom of the fifth after Shim Jae-min singled. He induced Hong Chang-ki to fly out to first base and then got Austin to ground into a double play to end the inning.
LG catcher Heo Do-hwan (right) expresses that it was not intentional after being hit in the junk by LG’s Lee Sang-young’s pitch in the fourth inning.
Three more runs in the seventh, including a solo shot by Jeon Jun-woo… and Woo Kang-hoon in the ninth.
In the seventh inning, Lotte scored three runs and drove a wedge into the game. Leadoff hitter Jeon Jun-woo took advantage of a fastball from LG’s reliever Park Myung-geun and launched a solo shot to left field (6-1), his 17th home run of the season. Gudrum was then walked to load the bases for pinch-hitter Jang Doo-seong. Han Dong-hee singled to right to put runners on first and third, and Jung Dae-sun singled to left to make it 7-1. LG switched pitchers again to Yoon Hosol. Yoon struck out Son Sung-bin and Park Seung-wook on a fly ball to right field, but gave up an RBI single to Ahn Kwon-soo.(8-1) After giving up a walk to Yoon Dong-hee to load the bases, Yoon got Yoo Kang-nam to fly out to center field to end the seventh inning.
Lotte sent Woo Kang-hoon to the mound in the bottom of the ninth with the score still 8-1. Woo gave up a walk to leadoff hitter Moon Sung-joo after a seven-pitch battle. His fastball was clocked at 149 kilometers per hour, but he got out of the jam by striking out pinch-hitter Moon Bo-kyung on six pitches with a 1-1 count. Woo was then hit by a pitch from Seo Gun-chang to put runners on first and second. But there was no more danger. The next batter, Kim Bum-seok, induced a two-pitch grounder to third base on a 1-0 pitch to end the game.