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(LEAD) NC Dinos defeat LG Twins to stay alive in baseball postseason

All Headlines 23:07 October 24, 2014

(ATTN: ADDS details)
By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, Oct. 24 (Yonhap) -- The NC Dinos squeezed past the LG Twins 4-3 Friday to stay alive in the ongoing Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) playoff series.

Designated hitter Lee Ho-jun hit a tie-breaking solo home run in the sixth at Jamsil Stadium, the Twins' home in Seoul, and No. 9 hitter Kim Tae-goon drove in a late insurance run in the eighth, as the Dinos avoided elimination in the best-of-five affair after dropping the first two games.

The Dinos made the playoffs in just their second year of existence and this was the first playoff victory in their young history.

The first round series has been best-of-five on seven occasions so far. The Doosan Bears in 2010 and in 2013 remain the only team to come back from a 2-0 series deficit to move on to the second round.

The fourth game will be back at Jamsil at 2 p.m. Saturday. The Twins will send right-hander Ryu Jae-kuk to the mound, while the Dinos will start right-hander Thad Weber.

The Twins had scored first in each of the first two games this series, but the Dinos drew the first blood on Friday, capitalizing on sloppy defense in the top of the first.

With a man on first, Eric Thames lined a single up the middle, and Kim Jong-ho, speedy runner on first, headed for third. LG's center fielder Brad Snyder tried to get Kim, but his throw was off the line. Thames made a turn for second on the play, and third baseman Son Joo-in made a bad throw to second that was mishandled by shortstop Oh Ji-hwan and skipped over to outfield, allowing Kim to score from third.

Lee Ho-jun, the next batter, hit a double down the left field line to bring home Thames, making it 2-0.

The Twins cut the deficit in half in the bottom third on Lee Byung-kyu's sacrifice fly. They opened the inning with a double and a walk, and a sacrifice bunt moved up the runners, setting the stage for their cleanup hitter.

Lee hit a sinking liner to left, but Kim Jong-ho made a nice diving grab to prevent further damage.

The home team pulled even with another sac fly in the fourth, this time by Son Joo-in, who atoned for his earlier defensive miscue with a deep fly to left that brought home Snyder from third.

The Twins narrowly missed a chance to go ahead in the bottom fifth, when Oh Ji-hwan was gunned down at home by center fielder Na Sung-bum as he tried to score on a shallow fly.

The close play at the plate was reviewed by the umpires, but the initial call stood.

The Dinos made the Twins pay for the missed opportunity, as Lee Ho-jun took LG starter Cory Riordan over the right field wall in the top sixth to restore NC's lead. It was Lee's second home run of this series and 10th of his postseason career.

The Twins threatened again in the bottom seventh, as Jeong Seong-hoon led off with a single. Oh Ji-hwan, the next batter, popped out to the catcher trying to lay down a sac bunt, killing what little momentum the Twins had.

Park Yong-taek followed up with a single, a hit that could have brought home the tying run if Oh had moved up Jeong to second.

Again, the Dinos made the Twins rue their mistake. In the top eighth, Kim Tae-goon, who had been 1-for-6 in the series, hit a two-out single to put his club up 4-2.

The Twins got one run back on a wild pitch by NC reliever Son Min-han. Then with a man on third, pinch hitter Lee Byung-kyu hit a hard grounder to second baseman Ji Seok-hoon, who threw out Hwangmok Chi-seung.

Riordan took the loss after giving up three earned runs on six hits and two walks in 5 1/3 innings.

Charlie Shirek, who started for NC, was credited with the win after allowing two runs, one of them unearned, on six hits and two walks in five innings.

The Dinos' bullpen had some adventures but preserved the victory by holding the Twins to a run over four innings.

The Twins had a base runner in every inning and outhit the Dinos 11-9 in the losing cause. They also had two men aboard with two outs in the bottom ninth, but pinch hitter Jeong Eui-yoon struck out swinging against closer Kim Jin-sung.

Lee Ho-jun went 2-for-5 with two RBIs for the Dinos. Choi Gyeong-cheol was 2-for-3 in the losing cause for LG and is now batting 6-for-11 in the postseason.


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