Monday, October 24, 2011

SK 8, Lotte 4

SK wins the series, 3-2
W - Brian Gordon (1-1), L - Song Seung-joon (1-1), S - Jeong Woo-ram (1)
SK HR - Park Jeong-kwon 2(3)
Lotte HR - None

We've got a 2010 Korean Series rematch, but this time the SK Wyverns come in as the underdog and the Samsung Lions are the favorite.

SK went with struggling ace Kim Kwang-hyeon as the starter for this game and he didn't last long. Kim gave up a triple to left fielder Kim Ju-chan to start the game. Kim scored on a double from center fielder Jeon Joon-woo to give Lotte a 1-0 lead. Kim finished the first inning, but he wasn't brought back for the second. He simply hasn't looked the same since the 2010 post season.

Lotte's lead lasted until the fourth inning and it was the last lead they would see in the 2011 season. SK first baseman Park Jeong-kwon hit a two-run bomb to put SK on top.

SK added two more runs in the fifth to push the lead to 4-1. Lotte turned to starter Jang Won-joon to provide some relief. He didn't have nearly the same success he had in Game Four. Jang faced three batters and all three stung him for base hits. Lim Hoon, Jeong Geun-woo and Park Jae-sang all singled off of Jang. Park's single drove in a run to make the score 3-1. Chris Bootcheck was brought in and he promptly uncorked a wild pitch to allow Jeong Geun-woo to score from second to make the lead 4-1.

In the sixth, Park Jeong-kwon hit his second two-run homer of the day to make the lead 6-1 and the rout was on.

Lotte rallied for three in the bottom of the sixth to make the game close. DH Hong Seong-heun hit an off-the-wall double to plate the first run of the rally and catcher Kang Min-ho hit another off-the-wall double to drive in a pair.

SK piled on with two more runs in the eighth to give us our final. With runners on second and third with no outs, DH Ahn Chi-hong singled to right for the first run of the inning. Center fielder Kim Kang-min then hit a double to push the lead to 8-4. SK still had runners on second and third with no outs, but Lotte managed to get out of the jam without any more damage.

The SK bullpen(and starting staff) really stepped up after Kim's early exit. Brian Gordon threw 3 2/3 innings(49 pitches, 32 strikes) of scoreless relief. Gordon gave up only three hits while striking out three.

SK reliever Jeong Woo-ram recorded the final nine outs for the save. He struck out one and didn't give up anything.

For Lotte, it was nothing but headaches after starter Song Seung-joon was pulled in the fifth inning. Song threw 4 2/3 innings(67 pitches, 42 strikes) and gave up two runs. Song surrendered only four hits(three stayed in the park) and struck out one.

Whichever buttons manager Yang pushed after Song's exit were the wrong ones. Jang Won-joon and Chris Bootcheck both struggled in relief of Song. They didn't get much help in the field. Lotte was only charged with one error, but there were numerous mental errors in the field that helped SK pile on the runs. It was like all of the ghosts of seasons past came back to haunt them. Bobbled balls, fielders juuuuuuuust missing grounders, wild pitches.

SK will head to the Korean Series to face Samsung while Lotte will get to go home early.

The series will start in Daegu at 6 PM local time on Tuesday. Starters haven't been announced, but SK will likely use Song Eun-beom against either Yoon Seong-hwan or Cha Woo-chan. Samsung could go either way with their starter in game one. Samsung will likely save its non-Korean pitchers for either emergency relief work or for use later in the series as a starter.

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