Twins and Heroes look to take control
The LG Twins and Nexen Heroes are tied at a game apiece in their best-of-five series in the second round of the Korea Baseball Organization postseason.
Nexen will start Oh Jae-yeong and LG will call on Cory Riordan of the United States with the series shifting to the Twins’ home field at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in southern Seoul for Game 3 tonight.
Oh is the Heroes’ third starter behind foreigners Henry Sosa and Andy Van Hekken, but he has been effective against the Twins.
During the season, he compiled a record of five wins and six losses with a 6.45 ERA, but in four games against LG he had one victory and posted a 1.83 ERA.
Riordan, on the other hand, had an overall record of nine wins and 10 losses with a 3.96 ERA, but lost three of four starts against Nexen with an ERA of 6.35.
He was particularly ineffective against Nexen’s sluggers. Seo Geon-chang hit .600 against Riordan, Park Byeung-ho .444 and Kang Jung-ho .667.
In the Game 2 on Tuesday, LG starter Shin Jeong-rak quieted the Heroes’ hitters with effective curveballs in a 9-2 Twins win.
Nexen has many big hitters, but Kang Jung-ho, who hit 40 home runs during the regular season, struck out three times against Shin, and Seo Geon-chang, who became the first KBO player to get 201 hits in a season, was hitless against Shin.
The 27-year-old sidearm pitcher only allowed a solo homer by Yu Han-jun and two other hits en route to being named the Game 2 MVP.
LG was leading 2-1 after seven innings, but scored six times in the eighth and once in the ninth to even the series.
Nexen took the opener, 6-3, Monday on its home turf at Mokdong Baseball Stadium, western Seoul. Starting pitcher Henry Sosa of the Dominican Republic allowed a run in the third inning and two in the fourth, then found himself with men on first and third with nobody out in the fifth and his team trailing, 3-1.
Nexen sent in 20-year-old rookie reliever Cho Sang-woo, who managed to get LG’s Lee Byung-kyu to hit into a double play.
Cho used a 151-kilometer-per-hour (93.8-mile-per-hour) fastball to silence the LG hitters in the sixth and seventh innings.
In the sixth inning, pinch hitter Yoon Suk-min slammed a three-run homer over the right-field wall to put Nexen in the lead for good, 5-3.
Yoon was selected as the game’s MVP.
He was drafted by the Doosan Bears in 2004. In 2012, after completing his military service, he played in only 109 games, hitting .291 with 10 home runs and 48 RBIs, He was relegated to the second string in 2013 and traded to Nexen with Jang Min-seok.
It hasn’t been any easier for him to stay on the field with Nexen. He backed up first baseman Park Byeung-ho and third baseman Kim Min-seong, but manager Yeom Kyung-yeop often used him as a pinch hitter in crucial situations. Yoon finished the regular season hitting .267, with 10 home runs and 43 RBIs.
BY KIM BONG-MOON [email@example.com]