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With the All-Star Game in the past, the second season gets under way tonight with only 2.5 games separating the second and sixth place teams.

The Samsung Lions finished the first half with a 9-1 run for a four-game lead over the second-place Lotte Giants. But they resume action at home against their archrival, the SK Wyverns.

The fifth-place Wyverns are 7-5 against the Lions this year, and their five-man pitching rotation - Kim Kwang-hyun, Mario Santiago, former Major Leaguer Dave Bush, Yoon Hee-sang and Song Eun-beom - is finally intact.

After 14 victories and 10 losses last month, the Giants are 4-5 in July. They begin with three games against the last-place Hanwha Eagles.

The Giants dominated All-Star voting and led the East Team to a 5-2 victory against the West Team on Saturday in Daejeon. Giants infielder Hwang Jae-kyun was named All-Star Game MVP.

Seoul rivals LG Twins and Doosan Bears face off in a series that could help lure baseball fans in the capital to Jamsil Stadium. The Twins are in seventh place, but are 7-3 this year against the fourth-place Bears.

The remaining series pits the third-place Nexen Heroes and fifth-place Kia Tigers.

Individuals to watch this week include Giants pitcher Jung Dae-hyun, who is one save shy of becoming the 13th pitcher in the 31-year history of the Korea Baseball Organization to reach 100 saves.

Wyverns slugger Park Jae-hong enters the second half only one home run shy of 300 for his career.

For the Lions, Lee Seung-yeop is only one away from his 500th career home run. Lee has hit 340 homers in Korea, including 16 this season, and 159 in Japan. And if he hits four home runs in the second half of the season, he would also become the first KBO player to hit 20 homers for eight straight seasons.

By Moon Gwang-lip

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