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Lotte Giants edge Nexen Heroes on KBO Opening Day

All Headlines 22:30 April 01, 2016

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, April 1 (Yonhap) -- The Lotte Giants defeated their hosts the Nexen Heroes 2-1 to open the 2016 Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) season on Friday.

It was one of five games played across the league on the 35th Opening Day.

At Gocheok Sky Dome in the nation's capital, Josh Lindblom tossed six shutout innings for the Giants, who scored the first run on a Nexen error and another on a fifth-inning single by Jim Adduci.

Both the Giants and the Heroes wasted early opportunities. The Giants had a man in the scoring position in each of the first three innings but failed to cash in. The Heroes put men at second and third with one out in the bottom second, only to see Lindblom retire the next two batters.

The Giants finally got on board in the fourth. With men at first and second with one out, Son Yong-seok hit a grounder to first that should have started an inning-ending double play. Instead, first baseman Yoon Suk-min hit the lead runner with a throw to second, allowing Kang Min-ho to score from second as the ball trickled to shallow center field.

The Giants doubled their lead in the top fifth, as Aducci hit a one-out single to left.

The Heroes stranded two more runners in the fifth. They put two men on with one out, but Lee Taek-keun grounded into a fielder's choice and Chae Tae-in struck out swinging.

The Heroes came within inches of taking the lead in the bottom sixth. With two men on, Kim Ha-seong launched the ball over the right field wall, but it traveled just wide of the foul pole. The Heroes demanded a video review but the initial call stood.

The home team finally got one back in the bottom seventh with Lee Taek-keun's sacrifice fly, but it was as close as they would get on this night.

Son Seung-lak, former All-Star closer for Nexen who signed a free agent deal with the Giants in the offseason, retired the final three batters for the save.

For the Giants, Jung Hoon and Son Ah-seop, the first two hitters in order, went a combined 5-for-9. After Lindblom, five relievers held the Heroes to two hits.

Lindblom's Nexen counterpart, Ryan Feierabend, gave up two runs -- one unearned -- over six innings on nine hits to take the loss.

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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