It ain’t over yet: Doosan tie up seriesOn the brink of elimination, the Doosan Bears staved off the Lotte Giants in front of their rowdy home crowd to even the series with a 11-4 win yesterday and force a fifth and deciding game at home in Jamsil, southern Seoul tomorrow.
Doosan lost the first two games at home in Jamsil to put themselves in a tough position but managed to claw their way back into the series by winning both the games in Busan. Lotte has now lost eight consecutive postseason games at home. The momentum, which was in Lotte’s favor until yesterday, has shifted heavily in Doosan’s favor after an impressive win that included clutch hitting from Yong Deok-han and Jung Soo-bin.
“I saw our players pull together as a team today,” said Doosan manager Kim Kyung-moon in a post-game interview. “We’ve overcome a tough adversity and now play the fifth and deciding game in Seoul. I’m leaning toward Kim Sun-woo as the game five starter.”
While Lotte kept it close for much of the game, they failed to capitalize on its chances when it mattered most. In the end, the Giants stranded a total of 17 runners in the game, setting a new postseason high.
“We missed out on too many chances in the early stages of the game,” said Lotte manager Jerry Royster. “Doosan’s offense also did not come through until the ninth inning when Jung Soo-bin hit a home run.
“Our team is still in good shape. There’s a 99 percent chance Song Seung-joon will get to start in game five.”
Lotte manager Jerry Royster tabbed Jang Won-joon as the starter in game four and Doosan’s Kim Kyung-moon opted to go with Lim Tae-hoon as his starter. Lim had been shaky out of the bullpen in the opening game of the series and also gave up 10 home runs in five games against the Giants this season. Despite the favorable matchup, Lotte batters failed to take advantage.
Kang Min-ho’s double drove in two runners to tie the game in the bottom of the fifth inning, but Doosan’s backup catcher Yong Deok-han drove in Lim Jae-cheol to retake the lead in the top of the sixth inning. In the seventh inning, Yong made a key play by throwing out Jeon Jun-woo at first base with one out and two men on.
Lotte had several golden opportunities to tie the game in the following innings but squandered their chances and the game remained at 3-2 at the end of the eighth inning.
In the ninth inning, the Bears received a big help from an unexpected source: Jung. The 19-year-old outfielder, who was pinch-hitting for Ko Young-min, hit a three-run home run to spark a Doosan offense that went on an eight-run tear in the ninth inning. Lotte managed to add two runs in the bottom of the ninth but ended the game at 11-4.
“At three balls, the count was in my favor but I decided to be aggressive on the next pitch,” said Jung in a post-game interview. “If I drew a walk, it would have increased the chances for a double-play. I was lucky.
“When I found out the ball had cleared the fence, I thought we could finish the game with ease and move on to game five.”
On Saturday, Doosan managed to eke out a 6-5 win and forced game four on Lee Jong-wook’s home run and Les Walrond’s solid middle relief work-out of the bullpen.
By Jason Kim [email@example.com]