The Korean Baseball Organization’s top-ranked LG Twins defeated the Hanwha Eagles behind a strong performance from starter Im Chan-kyu to advance to the Korean Series for the first time in 21 years since 2002.
KT WIZ held on to second place by defeating the road-bound KIA Tigers, despite foreign pitcher William Cuevas narrowly missing a no-hitter with two outs.
The Doosan Bears moved to within 1.5 games of the third-place NC Dinos with their third straight win in a three-way battle for third place.
LG defeated Hanwha 3-1 in the 2023 Shinhan Bank Solar KBO League at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on Wednesday.
With a season record of 77 wins, two draws and 48 losses, LG is eyeing the dream 80-win plateau and has raised its chances of winning the combined title (regular season and Korean Series) for the first time in 29 years since 1994.
Hanwha opened the scoring in the top of the first inning with a solo home run by Chae Eun-sung.
However, LG tied the game with an RBI single by Kim Hyun-soo after a pitching change and scored on a double by Austin Dean and a subsequent grounder to make it 2-1.
In the third, two batters later, Oh Ji-hwan hit a solo home run to right field for a 3-1 lead.
LG starter Lim Chan-kyu pitched a career-high eight innings, allowing just one run on five hits to improve to 12-3 on the season. He had the game of his life, tying his career high for wins and his career high for innings pitched in a game.
Hong Chang-ki went 4-for-3 with a run scored, Kim Hyun-soo went 1-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI, and Oh Ji-hwan drove in the winning run with a solo home run.
■ No. 4 Doosan closes to within 1.5 games of No. 3 NC
In a battle of third- and fourth-place teams, the Doosan Bears defeated the NC Dinos 3-1 in Changwon.
Fourth-ranked Doosan, which has won three straight, moved to within 1.5 games of third-place NC.
The tie was broken in the seventh inning when Lee Jae-hak and Raul Alcantara started the game.
Doosan took a 1-0 lead in the top of the seventh when Kim Jae-ho lined a single to right field with runners on first and second.
Jose Rojas followed with a single to left to make it 2-0, and with two outs, Kim Jae-hwan drew a bases-loaded walk to make it 3-0.
NC got one run back in the bottom of the ninth on an RBI single by Kwon Hee-dong.
Doosan starter Alcantara was taken out of the game in the bottom of the sixth inning after being hit on the right hand by a straight hit from Park Min-woo.
■ KT Cuevas breaks no-hitter with one out in the ninth inning
KT narrowly missed out on a no-hitter after foreign pitcher William Cuevas (33) left the bases loaded with two outs.
Cuevas struck out seven batters with one out in the ninth inning of a no-hitter against the visiting Kia Tigers of the 2023 KBO at Kia Champions Field in Gwangju.
He faced three batters and didn’t give up a single hit and appeared on the verge of a no-hitter.
However, KIA broke Cuevas’ no-hitter in the bottom of the ninth inning when second-year Kim Do-young, who came to bat with one out, hit a triple to the top of the left-center field fence.
The next batter, Kim Sun-bin, drew a walk to put runners on first and third, but KT brought in reliever Kim Jae-yoon to end Cuevas’ perfect game.
KT took the lead in the bottom of the first inning when Park Byung-ho hit a two-run home run to left field.
KT added a run in the top of the seventh on an RBI single by pinch-hitter Moon Sang-chul, and in the eighth, pinch-hitter Kim Jun-tae drove in a run on a passed ball to make it 4-0.
In the bottom of the ninth, with runners on first and third, KIA scored a run on Choi Hyung-woo’s infield grounder to end the game.
With the 4-1 win, KT maintained its two-game lead over the third-place NC Dinos, who lost on the day.
With a 10-0 record on the season, Cuevas booked the winning percentage title.
KIA, on the other hand, slipped to sixth place after one day.
SSG Oh Won-seok picked up the win in relief of starter McCarty, allowing two runs on five hits in 5⅔ innings. [Yonhap]
SSG reliever Oh Won-seok gives up 2 runs in 5⅔ innings…returns to 5th place
In Incheon, the SSG Landers beat the Lotte Giants 4-2 to return to fifth place.
SSG took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Oh Tae-gon doubled to right-center field and scored on Guillermo Heredia’s double to left field.먹튀검증
Lotte answered in the top of the third when Hwang Sung-bin drew a walk against reliever Oh Won-seok, advanced to third on two wild pitches, and scored on Han Dong-hee’s RBI single to make it 1-1.
SSG, however, took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the seventh when pinch-hitter Choi Hang hit a two-run double to left center, followed by RBI singles by Oh Tae-gon and Kim Chan-hyung to make it 4-1.
Lotte scored a run in the top of the eighth on an RBI double by Jeon Jun-woo, but could not get any closer.
SSG starter Kirk McCarty was pulled after the second inning due to side pain.
Oh Won-seok earned the win in relief, allowing two runs on five hits in 5⅔ innings.