The victory, which left an unpleasant aftertaste, led to a painful come-from-behind defeat the next day. The Lotte Giants ended the week with regret in the winning series of 3 consecutive matches during the week and 3 consecutive matches on the weekend.
Lotte lost 5-7 in the 5th game of the season against the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League Kiwoom Heroes held at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on the 28th. The winning streak ended at ‘3’ and the opportunity to move up from 3rd to 2nd place over SSG Landers was missed.
Up until episode 6,안전놀이터 everything was perfect. Ace Na Kyun-an, who started as the starting pitcher, threw 6 innings and allowed 1 run, and the other line scored 2 runs in the top of the 2nd, 1 in the 3rd, and 2 runs in the 5th, taking a 5-1 lead.
Lotte won all 24 games leading up to the 7th inning this season, and considering the recent slump in Kiwoom’s batting line, there were few eyes that doubted Lotte’s victory. At the end of the 7th inning, he gave up one point to Kiwoom, but the gap of 3 points did not seem small.
However, the part where finisher Kim Won-joong got on the mound in the game on the 27th and was unable to pitch on this day, as a result, caught Lotte’s ankle.
On the 27th, Lotte took a 6-0 lead until the 8th inning thanks to the explosion of the batting line and good pitching by foreign pitcher Charlie Barnes. Considering the flow of the game, it was expected that he would easily handle the remaining three out counts even in the last defense in the bottom of the ninth.
However, when second-year right-hander Jin Seung-hyun brought a bases loaded crisis on himself, he hurriedly replaced the pitcher with veteran right-hander Yoon Myeong-jun to put out the urgent fire. Yoon Myeong-Jun struck out Lee Won-Seok and the game looked like it would end, but Kim Dong-Hun got 2 RBIs just in time.
Lotte put Kim Won-joong, the finisher, at 6-2, 2 companies, 1st and 2nd base. Kim Won-joong also gave Hyung-jong Lee a hit ball, Ji-yeol Lim a push-off walk, and Byeong-wook Lim 2 RBIs on a timely hit.
Prior to the game on the 28th, Lotte coach Larry Sutton expressed regret, saying, “Jin Seung-hyun’s 9th inning the previous day was a pitcher that was appropriate for the situation.
Director Sutton’s disappointment did not end when the easy win turned into a sweaty win. With Kim Won-joong unable to pitch on the 28th, the idea of leaving the 8th inning to Kim Sang-soo and the 9th save to setup man Koo Seung-min went awry in the defense at the end of the 8th inning.
With the start of the inning, Kim Sang-soo got three consecutive hits from Russell, Lim Byung-wook, and Lee Won-seok, and was put on the verge of being loaded with the bases safely. He gave Kim Dong-heon a 1-run outfield sacrificial fly and exchanged the score for an out count, but immediately allowed a hit to Kim Hui-jip, making it one out and full base.
Coach Sutton seemed to think that it was unreasonable for Koo Seung-min to take responsibility for the 5-out count until the 9th inning, and he put Yoon Myeong-jun in urgently following the previous day. Yoon Myeong-Jun struck out Lee Hyung-Jong and got over a hurdle, but Lim Ji-Yeol, the next hitter, hit a come-from-behind home run, and the game was overturned to 5-7. Lotte’s lead, which lasted for nearly three hours, disappeared in an instant.
There is no such thing as an emergency in baseball, but if Kim Won-joong took a break the day before, Lotte was able to operate normally, with Koo Seung-min in the 8th inning and Kim Won-joong in the 9th inning. As a result, Kim Won-joong’s long fight paid the price of not being able to use the most reliable card in one day.
Although Lotte gained a win-loss margin of ‘+2’ with 4 wins and 2 losses during the week, a good opportunity to continue the upward trend was missed in vain, ahead of a three-week matchup with the LG Twins, the first place next week.