Tigers come out on top of preseason bya long shot

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Tigers come out on top of preseason bya long shot

DAEGU - The Kia Tigers completed their dominant run with a 4-3 come-from-behind victory against the defending champions Samsung Lions yesterday as the Korea Baseball Organization wrapped up its 2013 preseason.

The victory put the Gwangju club at nine victories and two losses, a stellar winning percentage that overshadowed the rest of the pack.

The three runner-ups - Doosan Bears, Nexen Heroes and SK Wyverns - all settled for six victories, four losses and a draw.

“They are just preseason games, but I still feel good [leading the league],” said Tigers manager Sun Dong-yul, a former franchise star.

The nine-time champions, rebuilt with a strong lineup, are seeking their first title in four years after a mediocre fifth-finish last year.

“We will change stadiums at the end of the season,” Sun said.

“Winning the league will be a good way to celebrate.”

At an away game in Daegu yesterday, the Tigers were trailing 3-2 in the sixth inning when Hong Jae-ho hit a triple and tied the score on Lee Yong-kyu’s single.

Lee reached second base on a walk by designated-hitter Choi Hee-seop and came home after Kim Won-sup hit an RBI single.

It was the fourth straight loss for the Lions, who were humbled by a bottom-placed finish in the preseason at 2-6-3.

The Lions also lost to the Tigers 6-2 on Saturday after losing two games against the 2012 last-placed Hanwha Eagles - 8-3 on Friday and 6-3 on Thursday.

The Lotte Giants, who finished third in the 2012 postseason, finished second from last after winning their final game against the Eagles 7-0 yesterday. The Giants lost both games against the NC Dinos, who are making their KBO debut and have quickly emerged as the Giants’ regional rival. The Dinos beat the Giants 6-3 on Thursday and 2-1 on Friday. The Doosan Bears lost to the LG Twins 3-2 in a capital rival game yesterday.

By Seo Ji-young, Moon Gwang-lip [joe@joongang.co.kr]
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