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BASEBALL

Choo lifts AL Player of the Month title

Texas Rangers outfielder Choo Shin-soo has been named American League Player of the Month for September.

Major League Baseball (MLB) announced on Tuesday (Korean time) that the 33-year-old Korean won the top player award while helping his club win their first AL West title in four years.

The MLB examined the performance of 28 games in September and four games in October. During this period, Choo had a .387 batting average with six home runs and 23 RBIs.

He also marked a .500 on-base percentage and .613 slugging percentage.

The Busan native had a .404 batting average and .515 on-base percentage to lead all of MLB, and shared top place for 42 hits in his 28 games in September.

Choo is the first player since Willie Mays in 1958 to lead the majors in those three categories in September. He is also the first Rangers player ever to bat over .400 in at least 100 at-bats in September.

Choo previously won Player of the Month in September 2008 while playing for the Cleveland Indians.



Lefties to meet in first postseason game

Two lefty aces will clash in the first game of the KBO League postseason as the Nexen Heroes host the SK Wyverns in the wildcard series today at Mokdong Baseball Stadium in Seoul.

At a media day event on Tuesday, Heroes manager Yeom Kyung-yup and Wyverns manager Kim Yong-hee announced their starting pitchers for their critical first game.

The Heroes said that they will put Andy Van Hekken on the mound. The 36-year-old American went 15-8 with a 3.62 ERA this season. The Wyverns will challenge with their southpaw ace Kim Kwang-hyun, who went 14-6 with a 3.72 ERA this season.

Van Hekken, the reigning Golden Glove-winning pitcher with 20 wins last season, is marking 2-0 with a 1.72 ERA in four games against the Wyverns this season.

Kim, 27, pitched only once against the Heroes this season, getting eight strikeouts in six innings with no runs on Aug. 20.

In the wildcard series, the fourth-seeded team will have home-field advantage and be given a one-win advantage, meaning a single win or tie will allow the Heroes to move up to the next round to face the Doosan Bears, while the Wyverns, who finished fifth in the regular season, need to win two straight games.
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