Shortest Kim Do-Young bunt was most dramatic, No. 1 manager says

“It came at a really important time. A hard-fought win makes it even more meaningful.”

The Kia Tigers, the top-ranked team in the Korean Baseball Organization, earned a valuable victory. After nearly suffering their first sweep of the season and first three-game losing streak, the Tigers bounced back with a thrilling comeback victory.

The Tigers won 10-7 against LG on Monday at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul, South Korea, in a batting battle that saw both teams exchange 28 hits. Kia, which had lost back-to-back games on April 26-27, was in danger of suffering its first sweep of the season if it had lost to LG.

Kia starter Crowe was pulled after five innings after allowing seven runs on 10 hits with six strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings. Lee Jun-young and Jang Hyun-sik then closed out the fifth inning.

Choi Ji-min (one scoreless inning) in the sixth, Jeon Sang-hyun (one scoreless inning) in the seventh, Kwak Do-gyu (one scoreless inning) in the eighth, and Jeong Jung-young (one scoreless inning) in the ninth.

Kia’s Na Sung-beom, who made his first first-team roster appearance of the season 안전놀이터 after recovering from a hamstring injury, pinch-hit with one out in the seventh inning and drew a walk to drive in the winning run.

Choi Hyung-woo, batting fourth, hit a leadoff three-run homer in the first inning. Kim Sun-bin, playing in the top spot for the first time in four years, went 3-for-5 with a double, a walk and three runs scored, while Lee Chang-jin, batting second, went 2-for-2 with a double, a walk and a run scored. Kim Do-young was 2-for-5 with a run scored and an RBI, including the decisive bunt single.

Kia took a 5-2 lead in the fourth inning on Choi Hyung-woo’s three-run homer and three consecutive hits from the bottom of the order, 7-9, but the Crowe faltered in the bottom of the fifth to allow a 7-5 lead. With the bases loaded, Kim Bum-seok gave up a three-RBI double to center field. Lee Joon-young came in and gave up another run.

Kia tied the game in the seventh inning. Top hitter Kim Sun-bin singled up the middle, and in a dramatic moment, Na Sung-beom came to the plate and drew a walk to put runners on first and second. Kim Do-young laid down a bunt toward third base, but catcher Park Dong-won was late to catch it and threw it to third base, where it sailed over the third baseman’s head. The runner from third scored to make it 6-7. With runners on second and third, Choi Hyung-woo grounded out to the second baseman to tie the game at 7-7. With the bases loaded, Lee Woo-sung lined a single to left to make it 8-7.

In the eighth inning, Kim Sun-bin doubled and Kim Ho-ryung singled to score a run, and in the ninth inning, Socrates, who was strangled at first base but refused to give up, reached on an error. With runners on first and second, Socrates scored from second on a throwing error by the second baseman on Park Chan-ho’s grounder to shortstop.

“It was a hard-fought victory, so I think it means even more,” said Lee Bum-ho after the game. It ended a three-game losing streak and prevented a sweep. “It was a tough game as we took a three-run lead with Choi Hyung-woo’s three-run homer in the first inning and another run in the fourth inning, but the batters showed their focus until the end,” said Lee.

“Kim Do-young’s bunt single in the top of the seventh inning with runners on first and second after Kim Sun-bin’s single and Na Sung-beom’s walk came at a really crucial time, and that play alone brought the momentum back in our favor,” Lee said. “Kim Ho-ryung’s RBI single in the top of the eighth was also a big boost. I can’t praise Socrates enough for her great play at the plate in the top of the ninth. That one play scored a valuable run and made a huge contribution to our victory.”

“After Crowe’s strikeout, the rest of the bullpen did their part to keep the team in the game,” he said.

“Thank you to all the players for giving it their all, and thank you to the fans for their support. We’ll do our best next week,” he concluded.


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