Baseball opening games deliver home run feastThe 2005 professional baseball season opened last weekend with batters treating anxious fans to a smashing 20 homers including two grand slams.
Samsung Lions snatched two wins against the Lotte Giants, including a 4-0 shutout victory on Saturday, while the team won again by a large margin, 14-2, on Sunday.
Samsung outfielder Shim Joung-soo, who became a free agent last year and moved to Samsung, produced three hits in four plate appearances with one walk on Saturday. On Sunday, he had two hits, including a grand slam, in four plate appearances with two walks.
“I trained well physically and was in good condition for the opening game,” Shim said. “Daegu stadium is good for hitting home runs.
“There is no need for a large full swing, and I try to focus on hitting,” Shim continued. “I intend to participate in all 126 games.”
In the first inning, Shim hit a blistering home run that flew outside the park through the middle-left stands. It followed two consecutive hits by Park Han-ie and Park Jong-ho and a walk for batter Yang Jun-hyuk.
It marked the 11th grand slam of his career, a Korean Baseball Association record. Samsung added another run in the sixth inning and seven more runs in the seventh inning.
In the game between two Seoul-based rivals, the Doosan Bears scored two victories over the LG Twins. Doosan won 14-5 on the opening day. However, the next day Doosan led LG 8-3 up to the eighth inning, but faced a difficult close following a grand slam by Park Yong-taek in the ninth inning. Doosan managed to hang on, winning 8-7.
In Suwon, the SK Wyverns beat last year’s champion Hyundai Unicorns on Sunday after drawing the day before. SK’s starter, Jesus Sanchez of the Dominican Republic, gave away only two runs in six innings while his opponent Mickey Callaway, a former Texas Rangers player, gave up four runs in six innings.
The day before, Hyundai and SK exchanged five homers each for a game lasting 4 hours and 32 minutes until the 12th inning when the game was declared a draw.
In Gwangju, the Kia Tigers beat the Hanwha Eagles 4-2 on Sunday, due to catcher Kim Sang-hoon’s three-run homer at the end of the fourth inning in revenge for an embarrassing 3-13 loss the day before.
On Saturday, Hanwha’s 39-year-old pitcher Song Jin-woo had a record 183rd win by giving up three runs and six hits for seven innings. All Hanwha starting players recorded hits.
by Sohn Jang-hwan, Chang Hye-soo