Tuesday, June 23, 2009

6/19 - 6/21 Weekend Roundup - Lotte vs. KIA

6/19 - Lotte 6, KIA 3
6/20 - Lotte 7, KIA 1
6/21 - KIA 7, Lotte 4

KIA held a 3-2 advantage in the 9th inning on Friday, but reliever Han Ki-joo chose to remind everyone why he was removed from the closer spot in the first place. Han wasn't good, but he wasn't alone in blowing the game. 2nd baseman Kim Jong-kuk dropped an infield fly that would have been the 2nd out, but instead it bounced off his glove and Karim Garcia was safe at first. Han got Lee Dae-ho to fly out to right for the 2nd out. This should have been out number 3 and KIA should have been high-fiving on the mound. Lotte's Kim Min-seong singled to put runners on the corners with 2 out. Jeong Bo-myeong hit a grounder to short that was fielded cleanly, but KIA shortstop Kim Seon-bin's throw was offline and Jeong was safe. The runner on 3rd managed to score to tie the game at 3. Replays showed that Jeong was out by 2 feet. Lotte catcher Kang Min-ho hit a walk-off, 3-run bomb to give Lotte the W. KIA starter Rick Guttormson had to watch his quality start evaporate. Rick tossed 7 innings(98 pitches, 62 strikes) of 1-run baseball. He allowed 5 hits and 1 walk while striking out 5.

What a difference a starting pitcher makes! Lotte starting pitcher Son Min-han has looked more competent in 3 weeks than his replacements looked in 3 months. Son twirled 5 innings(74 pitches, 49 strikes) of 1 run baseball. He allowed 5 hits and 2 walks while striking out 2. The Karim Garcia awakening of '09 continued in this game. Garcia went 3-4 and was a triple away from the cycle. He drove in 3 and scored 1. Lotte catcher Kang Min-ho went deep for the 2nd straight game. Kang finished 3-3 with 2 runs and 2 RBIs.

Aquilino Lopez and the KIA bullpen kept the Lotte offense inside the park and got enough offense for the W. Lopez tossed 7 innings(103 pitches, 72 strikes) and surrendered 4 runs. Lopez allowed 8 hits and struck out 5. Lotte starter Kim Il-yeop...didn't fare quite as well. Kim faced 5 batters and all reached base during a 6-run first inning. Kim was removed from the game without recording an out. 2 of the 4 hits he surrendered left the ballpark. KIA 3rd baseman Kim Sang-hyeon hit a 3-run bomb and Choi Hee-seop hit a solo homer. 2nd baseman Ahn Chi-hong added a solo homer off reliever Bae Jang-ho. Han Ki-joo tossed a perfect 9th to earn the save.

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