Leaders LG Twins defeated second-place KT Wiz in a rain-shortened game that lasted more than an hour and 40 minutes, giving them a commanding lead in the regular season. Several crucial ‘net defense’ plays in the extra innings secured a valuable victory.

LG won the 11th game of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League against KT 5-4 at KT Wiz Park in Suwon on Friday. The victory snapped a two-game losing streak and closed the gap on KT to 6.5 games.

LG’s starting lineup was Hong Chang-ki (right fielder), Shin Min-jae (second baseman), Kim Hyun-soo (designated hitter), Austin (first baseman), Moon Bo-kyung (third baseman), Oh Ji-hwan (shortstop), Heo Do-hwan (catcher), Moon Sung-joo (left fielder), and Park Hae-min (center fielder). Right-hander Choi Won-tae was the starting pitcher.

KT’s batting order was Choi Jong-ho (right fielder), Hwang Jae-gyun (third baseman), Alford (left fielder), Park Byung-ho (designated hitter), Jang Sung-woo (catcher), Oh Yoon-seok (first baseman), Lee Ho-yeon (second baseman), Bae Jeong-dae (center fielder), and Jang Jun-won (shortstop). Foreign pitcher William Cuevas, who had a terrifying 5-0 record with a 0.50 ERA in five games in August, started against Choi Won-tae.

LG struck first in the top of the second inning, as Moon Bo-kyung led off with a solo home run over the center field fence for a 1-0 lead.

LG was not satisfied with one run. After the next batter, Oh Ji-hwan, singled to right, Heo Do-hwan laid down a sacrifice bunt to put runners on first and second. When Moon Sung-joo came to bat, Oh advanced to third on a wild pitch by Cuevas and then crossed home plate on a grounder in front of the second baseman to give LG another run.

KT quickly responded with a counterattack. In the bottom of the second inning, Park Byung-ho led off with a solo home run over the center field fence off Choi Won-tae to cut the deficit to 2-1.

LG responded with a strong offense. In the top of the third inning, back-to-back singles by Austin and Moon Bo-kyung and a walk to Oh Ji-hwan loaded the bases. Heo Do-hwan followed with an outfield sacrifice fly to make it 3-1. On a grounder to shortstop by Moon Sung-joo, Moon scored from third base to make the score 4-1.

The KT bats did not fall behind in the firepower battle. In the bottom of the third inning, leadoff hitter Choi Soo-ho drew a walk and stole second base, followed by Hwang Jae-gyun’s RBI single to make it 4-2.

The sudden downpour of rain changed the course of the game. In the top of the fourth inning, before the leadoff hitter Hong Chang-ki stepped up to the plate, the game was suspended due to a downpour.

It took an hour and 44 minutes for the game to resume at 7:44pm. The game was resumed at 9:28 p.m. after the rain stopped and the grounds were cleared.

The benches of both teams were forced to make early changes to their starting pitchers, regardless of the number of pitches, due to the long suspension. KT brought in Lee Sang-dong in the top of the fourth inning and LG brought in Yoo Young-chan in the bottom of the fourth.

KT made a big push in the bottom of the fourth inning. After the first inning, Bae Jae-dae blasted a solo home run to set the tone, and Hwang Jae-gyun’s RBI single in the second inning tied the game at 4-4.

LG regained the lead in the top of the sixth inning. After a leadoff double by Hong Chang-ki and a sacrifice bunt by Shin Min-jae to center field, Kim Hyun-soo lined a clean single to right field to bring home Hong Chang-ki and regain the lead at 5-4.

LG’s bullpen then shut down KT’s resistance without allowing a run. Kim Jin-sung in the sixth and Baek Seung-hyun in the seventh struck out the KT batters in succession to preserve the lead.

In the top of the eighth inning, the defense of captain and starting shortstop Oh Ji-hwan dominated the inning. With one out in the bottom of the eighth, Park Myung-geun gave up a double to Jang Jang-woo and then a walk to pinch-hitter Kim Min-hyuk, putting runners on first and second.

This is where LG manager Yoon Kyung-yeop made the game-changing decision to bring in closer Go Woo-seok early. Go Woo-seok induced an infield grounder to KT’s Lee Ho-yeon with a three-pitch, 143-kilometer cut fastball in a one-ball, one-strike at-bat. It was a tricky grounder to handle, but LG’s Oh Ji-hwan made a perfect catch near the second base line.

Right after the pitch, Oh casually touched the second base with his right foot, forcing out the runner at first base with a smooth throw to first. It was a picture-perfect defense that broke KT’s will to chase and lifted the mood in the LG dugout.

The LG outfielders’ defensive focus continued in the bottom of the ninth inning. KT’s leadoff hitter Choi Jae-dae sent a sharp shot to the outfield, but right fielder Hong Chang-ki made a spectacular diving catch for the first out of the inning. It was a great play that kept Go Woo-seok and LG alive.토토사이트

LG was briefly in trouble when Go Woo-seok gave up a single to Moon Sang-chul in the bottom of the first, but he didn’t falter. He got Choi Jong-ho to fly out to shortstop and Hwang Jae-gyun to strike out to end the long game.

On paper, Kim Hyun-soo’s game-winning hit and bullpen reliever Lily Ho pitched the game, but it was the defense of Oh Ji-hwan in the eighth and Hong Chang-ki in the ninth that proved decisive. In the first game of the highly anticipated midweek three-game series, the Mirae showed a high level of play.

With the win, LG snapped a four-game losing streak for KT. With a season record of 68 wins, 43 losses, two draws, and a winning percentage of 0.613, the team is now 6.5 games clear of KT (63 wins, 51 losses, two draws, and a winning percentage of 0.553).

LG has 31 games left in the regular season, while KT has 28, so the ‘top dog’ is in a slightly more favorable position if LG doesn’t fall into a long losing streak.

If LG wins 16 and loses 15 of its 31 games, it will have a final winning percentage of 0.591 even if it only wins 5 or more games. In this case, KT would need to win 21 of their 28 games to change the standings.

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