‘Instinctive glove toss + 6-inning QS’ Lee survives BBB big inning… KIA secures Winning Series

The adage “he who holds on wins in the end” is one that KIA Tigers’ young ace Lee Yi-ri, 21, lived up to.

The Tigers defeated the Doosan Bears 6-3 on Tuesday at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul in the first game of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League regular season.

With the win, KIA improved to 25-27 and closed the gap on fifth-place Doosan (27-1, 26-2) to 1.5 games. Doosan’s fifth-place finish was threatened by a second straight loss to sixth-place KIA.

It was a matchup of left-handers. On paper, Lee has looked good this season with a 5-3 record and a 2.55 ERA in 11 games, but he has struggled with his stuff, striking out 41 batters in 49⅓ innings. His counterpart, Doosan’s Choi Seung-yong, has been equally impressive, going 2-4 with a 5.27 ERA in nine starts.

There was definitely a point in the game where Lee was shaky, giving up three walks in the third inning alone. But that was it. In the other innings, he pitched a walk-free outing to earn his sixth win of the season and, more importantly, his second quality start of the season (6+ innings, 3 earned runs or less). At the plate, leadoff hitter Ryu Ji-hyuk went 2-for-5 with two RBIs and two runs scored for the second straight day. Choi Hyung-woo went 2-for-5 with two RBIs, Shin Beom-soo went 2-for-3 with a run and an RBI, and Byun Woo-hyuk, the “one-hit wonder,” returned to his batting average (.208) by going 2-for-2 with a run, an RBI, and a walk.

For Doosan, starter Choi Seung-yong was unable to hold off the KIA offense, giving up five runs (four earned) on eight hits with one walk and two strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings. At the plate, the bottom seven through nine batters combined for four hits and two walks, including two from Kim Jae-ho, but the rest of the lineup was silent with zero hits.
June 10 Doosan-KIA Starting Lineup

Doosan lined up with Kim Dae-hyun (right fielder), Lee Yoo-chan (second baseman), Yang Ji (catcher), Yang Seok-hwan (designated hitter), Heo Kyung-min (third baseman), Song Seung-hwan (left fielder), Kim Jae-ho (shortstop), Kang Seung-ho (first baseman), and Jung Soo-bin (center fielder). The starter is left-hander Choi Seung-yong.

KIA’s lineup was Ryu Ji-hyuk (third base), Park Chan-ho (shortstop), Socrates Brito (center fielder), Choi Hyung-woo (designated hitter), Kim Sun-bin (second base), Lee Woo-sung (right fielder), Lee Chang-jin (left fielder), Byun Woo-hyuk (first base), and Shin Beom-soo (catcher). The starter was left-hander Lee Yi-ri.

Before the game, Doosan manager Lee Seung-yeop said, “Choi Seung-yong is a little tired. I remember last week and Jijinan week were bad. I have good memories of the last time we faced KIA. Today, I expect a different pitching performance from the last game against KT (June 4, 3-run loss in 3 innings).”

“We want at least five innings from domestic pitchers and at least six innings from foreign pitchers, but even if Lee Yi-ri gives up four runs in seven innings today, I think it will be fine as long as he pitches fewer innings,” said KIA manager Kim Jong-guk. “I’m thinking of Lim Ki-young and Choi Ji-min, who have been in the best form lately, as my two best pitchers. Choi Ji-min is resting today. I’m thinking of saving Im Ki-young until the end and putting him in the ninth inning if I can. I hope that (Im) Ki-young will be in a position to go out.”
Kia led by Ryu Ji-hyuk, Doosan led by Jeong Soo-bin go head-to-head in Athletics Division

“Wow, I’m exhausted.”

That’s what Ryu Ji-hyuk said as he packed up his gear after the game, having led KIA to victory with two sprinting runs the previous day (Sept. 9). But for the second day in a row, the tired Ryu used his quick feet and quick thinking to set the tone for the KIA offense.

Ryu led off the first inning with a single that sailed past the second baseman. Park Chan-ho made a great throw to third base. With Park on a full count, Ryu struck out immediately. Doosan third baseman Heo Kyung-min stayed away from third base to throw Park Chan-ho out at first, and Ryu Ji-hyuk took advantage of the gap to sprint to third. On the ensuing grounder, Ryu Ji-hyuk came home to give KIA a 1-0 lead.

Other batters added to the lead with aggressive stealing. In the top of the second inning, Lee Chang-jin led off with a walk and Byun Woo-hyuk’s exquisite hit down the right field line put runners on first and third. It was a 180-degree turnaround for Shin Bum-soo, who had gone 0-for-5 the previous day, including two walks. With the count at 2S0B, Shin took a slider from Choi Seung-yong and hit a grounder to the shortstop. But Kim Jae-ho got caught up in the action and Shin sprinted to first base, turning it into an infield hit. Meanwhile, third baseman Lee Chang-jin came home to give KIA a 2-0 lead.

However, Doosan had their charge leader, Jung Soo-bin, who went to the ninth inning to rest. KIA starter Lee Yi-ri, who had thrown just 22 pitches through two innings, suddenly faltered in the top of the third, giving up a single to Kim Jae-ho over the shortstop’s head and a walk to Kang Seung-ho on a high fastball. Jeong Soo-bin took advantage of the opportunity to bunt toward third base and sprinted to first base, safe and loaded with no outs. A shaken Lee gave up back-to-back walks to Lee Yoo-chan and Yang Ji, and a single to Yang Seok-hwan to center field, giving up three runs in an instant. However, shortstop Park Chan-ho caught Heo Kyung-min’s grounder to first base to end the inning.

KIA tied the game at 3-3 in the top of the fourth inning when Kim Sun-bin and Lee Woo-sung singled and Byun Woo-hyuk hit an RBI single up the middle. Doosan starter Choi Seung-yong gave up singles to Ryu Ji-hyuk and Socrates in the fifth and was replaced by Park Chi-guk. A throwing error by right fielder Kim Dae-hyun brought in two runners, bringing Choi’s final line to 4 1/3 innings, eight hits, one walk, two strikeouts, and five runs (four earned). His total pitch count was 78, and his fastball topped out at 146 kilometers per hour.
Lee overcame ‘one inning BBB→3 runs’ to win the glove toss… and eventually became the winner

Lee turned out to be the hero of the game with a spectacular glove toss. Doosan’s bottom of the order created opportunities in the third and fourth innings. Kim Jae-ho and Kang Seung-ho hit back-to-back singles to put runners on first and second with Jung Soo-bin, who had started the big inning with a sensible bunt.

Jung Soo-bin hit a second-pitch slider for a grounder that was heavily bounded and headed for an awkward spot between first baseman Byun Woo-hyuk and Lee Yi-ri. Lee Yi-ri barely caught the ball, and Jung Soo-bin scored almost simultaneously. Lee instinctively made a glove toss to Byun Woo-hyuk even as he fell. The first base umpire raised his hand on Jung’s head-first slide and called it safe. However, it was overturned as an out through video review, putting runners on second and third. The momentum started to shift in favor of KIA when Lee Yi-ri struck out Kim Dae-hyun on a wild pitch.

The older siblings took advantage of the momentum their younger brother brought. In the top of the fifth inning, Ryu Ji-hyuk led off with a single and Socrates singled to put runners on first and second. Choi Hyung-woo then took a fastball from reliever Park Chi-guk and hit a single to right field. Right fielder Kim Dae-hyun’s throw to third base went wide, allowing Socrates to score from first base, making the score 5-3.메이저놀이터

Lee regained the sharpness that had gotten him through the first two innings on 22 pitches. He recorded back-to-back shutout innings in the fifth and sixth, including two swinging strikeouts, to earn the quality start and the win. He threw 95 pitches and topped out at 153 mph.

Doosan was not so lucky. Both Yang Ji in the fifth inning and Kim Jae-hwan in the seventh were caught just short of the left field fence. KIA added an RBI single by Choi Hyung-woo in the top of the ninth, and Kim Yoo-shin (⅔ innings), Park Jun-pyo (1⅓ innings), and Jang Hyun-sik (1 inning) pitched scoreless innings to complete the 6-3 victory.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *