SSG Landers extend lead at top of KBO as Kiwoom Heroes start to slip
The SSG Landers extended their lead at the top of the KBO table to seven games last week, winning back-to-back series as the second-place Kiwoom Heroes started to slip.
The second-place Heroes managed just one win in five games last week, while the third-place LG Twins only won two.
More interesting things happened at the other end of the table, where the Doosan Bears used the only sweep of the week to reclaim sixth place, knocking the Lotte Giants down to seventh. The NC Dinos also gained enough momentum to climb out of ninth place for the first place in months, knocking the Samsung Lions down to the penultimate spot.
The Landers and Twins faced off in a midweek series that was possibly the hottest ticket of the week, with the third place team blanking the Landers to take the first game 9-0. The Landers rebounded quickly, however, winning Wednesday's games 6-3 and taking a tight rubber match 5-4.
The Landers saw things go much the same way over the weekend, dropping the opening game to the fifth-place Kia Tigers 11-2, then bounding back to take Saturday's game 7-5 and Sunday's 3-2.
The Twins headed from that Landers loss into another close series over the weekend against the fourth-place KT Wiz. Heavy rain disrupted most games on Sunday, leaving the Twins and Wiz unable to settle the score on their series, with the Wiz winning the opening game 5-4 and the Twins taking game two 8-7.
The second-place Heroes started off the week with their sole win: 8-7 against the Wiz on Tuesday. The Suwon club bounced back with a tight 5-4 win on Wednesday before taking the series with an 8-2 victory on Thursday.
Things did not improve for the Heroes going into the weekend, as the eighth-place Dinos took a 5-3 win on Friday before the two teams were held to a 3-3 tie on Saturday. Sunday's game was canceled, leaving the Heroes riding a three game losing streak.
Friday's win continued a solid week for the Dinos, who also won their midweek series against the fifth-place Tigers. The Dinos dominated in a 9-1 opener, before dropping Saturday's game 9-5 and coming back to take the rubber match 6-2.
The newly minted sixth-place Bears took the only sweep of the week as they sent the Giants down to seventh with three victories, 6-1, 6-5, 8-5. The Bears carried that momentum through into Friday's game, beating the last-place Hanwha Eagles 7-3, but then took a tough 11-1 loss on Saturday and a rain cancellation on Sunday.
The Giants bounced back from their loss to the Bears over the weekend to split the difference on a very tight series with the Lions. The Daegu club won the opener 8-7, with the Giants then winning the Saturday game 9-8. After two close finishes, the two sides ended up splitting Sunday's game 5-5 to end the series on a tie.
Tied series were the order of the week for the Lions, who had earlier split the difference on their midweek series with the Eagles. The Daejeon club took the first game 4-2, with the Lions winning the second game 11-10 and a 3-3 tie on Thursday.
The Landers have a chance to extend their lead even further this week as they kickoff a midweek series against the Heroes on Tuesday. The Twins could also take a chance to seize second as they take on the Giants, while the Wiz face the Dinos. The Tigers will play the Eagles, with the Bears and Lions facing off in the week's final fixture.
BY JIM BULLEY [email@example.com]