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(LEAD) LG Twins eliminate NC Dinos, move on to second round in baseball postseason

All Headlines 18:33 October 25, 2014

(ATTN: ADDS details, photos)
By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, Oct. 25 (Yonhap) -- The LG Twins pounded the NC Dinos 11-3 in Game 4 of the Korean Baseball Organization's best-of-five opening playoff series on Saturday to advance to the next round.

Cleanup Lee Byung-kyu went 4-for-5 with three RBIs to lead the potent Twins' offense, which enjoyed a six-run seventh inning to eliminate the Dinos in four games at home, Jamsil Stadium in Seoul.

(LEAD) LG Twins eliminate NC Dinos, move on to second round in baseball postseason - 2

The series victory adds a new chapter to a storybook season for the Twins, who were ranked dead last in mid-May before turning their fortunes around under manager Yang Sang-moon. They were 10-23-1 when Yang was appointed in May, and went 52-41-1 the rest of the way.

The Nexen Heroes await the Twins in the next series, which is also best-of-five. The Heroes earned the bye to the second round after posting the second-best record in the regular season.

The first game of the next round will start at 6:30 p.m. Monday at Mokdong Stadium in Seoul, the Heroes' home.

The Twins squeaked into the playoffs as the fourth seed on the final day of the regular season, and finished 7.5 games below the third-seeded Dinos, who made the postseason in just their second year of existence.

Yet the Twins took control early by winning the first two games, before losing Game 3 on Friday. They were 0-for-11 with men in scoring position in that loss, and had an ominous start to Saturday's game as they failed to score on a no-out, bases-loaded chance in the bottom second.

The Dinos also blew an opportunity in the top third. LG starter Ryu Jae-kuk got two quick groundouts before giving up a walk and a single, putting runners at the corners for slugger Na Sung-bum.

Na, who'd hit .333 this year against Ryu, hit a weak grounder back to the right-hander for the final out.

NC starter Thad Weber, struggling with his command all day, allowed a single and a walk to begin the third inning. With Kim Yong-eui at the plate trying to bunt the runners over, Son Joo-in was picked off at second after taking a big lead.

Kim himself drew a walk, but Park Yong-taek popped out to center, as another futile inning loomed for the Twins.

Lee Byung-kyu quickly turned things around, as he launched a triple to right center to drive home both runners aboard for an early 2-0 lead.

The Dinos' Lee Ho-jun tried to rally his club with a one-out double off the top of the left-center field wall in the top fourth. He was stranded at second, though, as Kwon Hui-dong and Son Si-heon hit groundouts.

Na missed a chance to redeem himself in the fifth, when he grounded out to second the inning's last out to leave two runners aboard.

The Dinos' missed opportunities haunted them in the fifth. Jeong Seong-hoon drew a walk to start the bottom fifth for LG and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Then designated hitter Park Yong-taek drove him home with a double to deep center, giving the Twins more breathing room at 3-0.

Lee Byung-kyu then followed up with an RBI single that put the Twins up by four runs.

(LEAD) LG Twins eliminate NC Dinos, move on to second round in baseball postseason - 3

Lee Ho-jun got a run back for the Dinos in the top sixth, sending a double down the left field line to drive in Eric Thames from first.

Lee moved to third on a grounder but was later tagged out in a rundown when Son Si-heon hit a comebacker to the mound.

Son Joo-in restored the Twins' four-run advantage with a run-scoring single in the bottom sixth.

Still, the Dinos refused to go extinct. Lee Ho-jun, wielding the hot bat, hit a two-out, two-run single with the bases loaded in the top seventh.

As their opponents were trying to stay close, the Twins threw devastating counter punches in the bottom half of the frame, batting around to score six runs on six hits and a walk.

The Twins opened the seventh with three consecutive singles, the third being Lee Jin-young's RBI single. After a walk loaded the bases, Oh Ji-hwan hit a two-run double to give the Twins an 8-3 lead.

Choi Gyeong-cheol, who entered the game sporting a team-best .545 batting average, drove in two more runs with a single.

Jeong Seong-hoon made it 11-3 with a high chopper back to the mound that brought home Moon Sun-jae from third.

Ryu, the Twins' starter, was steady in five shutout innings, limiting the Dinos to four hits to earn the victory. He also worked around three walks.

Weber, the losing pitcher, lasted just three innings in his start, giving up two earned runs on five hits and three walks, while striking out just one batter.

The Dinos had the second-best bullpen ERA during the regular season but their relief pitching was their great undoing on Saturday, as their six relief pitchers gave up 12 hits and nine runs in five innings. Won Jong-hyun and Lee Min-ho, who came in during the fateful seventh inning, both failed to retire a batter.

The Twins outhit the Dinos 17-9, and reached double digits in hits in each of the four games this series.

Every LG player in the starting lineup had a hit. Oh Ji-hwan, demoted from second to seventh in the order, responded with a 2-for-4 day at the plate with two RBIs. Son Joo-in, the No. 9 hitter, went 3-for-4.

Lee Ho-jun drove in all three runs for the Dinos with two doubles and a single, but his team received no contribution from the bottom half of the order.

jeeho@yna.co.kr
(END)

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