Monday, October 11, 2010

Doosan Walks Off Lions in Extras, Takes Series Lead

Doosan 9, Samsung 8 (11)
W - Kim Seong-bae, L - Jeong In-wook
Doosan HR - None Samsung - Cho Yeong-hoon
Doosan leads the series, 2-1

This game was an instant classic. A marathon playoff rollercoaster that KBO fans will discuss only in hushed tones. This was an epic in the truest sense. The game took over four hours to complete, featured four lead changes, 31 basehits and 16 different pitchers. By the time the final run was scored, I was completely exhausted. I've never had a KBO game wear me out like this before. I was so burnt out by being on edge for four hours that I needed to take a break from the blog just so I could process what I had seen. If I had written this post last night, it would have read like the missing chapter in "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas."

Samsung started the game off by chasing Doosan starter from the game in the second inning and appeared to be heading to any easy game two win. Kim was tagged for four runs during his 1 2/3 innings of work. Not so fast guys. The Bears stormed back eventually taking a 5-4 lead in the fourth inning with a three-run rally. Outfielder Jeong Su-bin tripled to left/center with runners on first and second to tie the game at four. Jeong would later score on an infielder single by infielder Oh Jae-won. Replays appeared to show Oh out by at least a step, but he was somehow called safe. The Bears would add an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth on a sac fly from second baseman Goh Yeong-min with the bases loaded. It was at this point that Samsung simply became incapable of recording a simple 1-2-3 inning. The Bears were making Samsung pay for every single out they recorded. It felt like every grounder or liner would find a hole.

Doosan has been using pitcher Lim Tae-hoon out of the bullpen during the post season. He's absolutely terrifying. Why they would choose to use him as a starter during the regular season is absolutely mystifying when you see him pitch in the post-season. He threw 2 1/3 innings of scorless relief. Lim allowed two hits and one walk while striking out three. Those numbers underscore how dominating he was. I really can't believe he gave up two hits.

The Lions battled back in the top of the eighth when pinch hitter Cho Yeong-hoon tagged embattled Doosan reliever Jeong Jae-hoon for a solo homer. Cho laserbeam over the right fielder wall cut the Doosan lead to 6-5. Samsung started a two-out rally when shortstop Kim Sang-su took a Goh Chang-seong pitch off his left leg. Right fielder Park Han-yi hit a liner to the left field wall for a double. Kim was able to motor all the way from first to score and tie the game at six. The double was Park's third of the game.

With one out and the bases completely empty in the bottom of the ninth, Doosan DH Kim Dong-ju hit a fly ball that landed just short of the wall. Kim hustled all the way around for one of the least likely triples in baseball history. For some reason, Kim was only credited with a double. The Samsung outfielders did have some trouble getting to the ball and there wasn't any kind of interference on the play. Either way, he would up at third. I was honestly worried for Kim when I saw he was rounding second. He looked like he needed an oxygen tank and a nap by the time he slid into third. The Lions unintentionally-intentionally walked Goh Yeong-min to bring Lim Jae-cheol to the plate. Lim fell behind early, but worked a full count and managed to take a walk to load the bases. Shortstop Son Si-heon went first pitch hunting and hit a lazy infield fly to the right side for the second out. Catcher Yang Eui-ji flied out to left to end the inning. I almost threw up at least three different times during this sequence.

In the top of the eleventh, it was Samsung's turn to load the bases with only one out. Samsung took a 7-6 lead when reliever Kim Seong-bae's first pitch hit catcher Chae Sang-byeong's elbow. Shortstop Kim Sang-su put a bunt down the first base line that he managed to beat out for an infield single. He was legitimately safe and Samsung had an 8-6 advantage

Samsung was left with a choice between Francisco Cruceta, Tim Redding and youngster Jeong In-wook for the bottom of the eleventh. I suppose Cha Woo-chan was also available. Samsung went with Jeong. Supposedly Cruceta has had control issues, Redding is starting game four and Cha was unavailable. Jeong gave up a lead off single to Lee Jong-wook and promptly fell apart. He walked Kim Dong-ju on four pitches and walked Goh Yeong-min to load the bases. Lim Jae-cheol doubled off the wall in left to tie the game at 8. Catcher Yang Eui-ji poked a single past the drawn-in infield to walk-off the Lions.

Game four is Monday night at 6 PM Seoul time in Jamsil. Doosan will trot out game one starter Hong Sang-sam again. He's the only guy the didn't use last night and by far the most rested. Samsung will try to avoid elimination with Tim Redding. Redding was brought in as a hired gun when Brandon Knight was released. They released Knight because Samsung wanted a fresher foreign arm for the stretch run. It's not the nicest way of conducting business, but it was a logical move. Redding had a solid season in AAA and probably wanted the extra pay check. Knight got to play golf two months earlier than usual. Redding is 1-3 with a 5.09 ERA and 1.44 WHIP in 35 1/3 KBO innings this year. He was last seen throwing a scoreless inning of relief in game three.

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