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(LEAD) Lotte Giants edge Nexen Heroes on KBO Opening Day

All News 22:57 April 01, 2016

(ATTN: ADDS more results from para 13, photos)
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.

Elsewhere in the league, the visiting Doosan Bears defeated the Samsung Lions 5-1 in a rematch of last year's Korean Series at Daegu Samsung Lions Park in Daegu, 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul.

The Lions scored first in the bottom first, but the Bears quickly erased the deficit with two runs in the top second.
In the top third, Doosan's Yang Eui-ji launched a two-run home run off starter Cha Woo-chan, staking the Bears to a 4-1 lead.

Min Byung-hun added a solo shot for the Bears in the eighth.

Doosan right-hander Dustin Nippert, making his sixth straight Opening Day start, scattered six hits across six innings for the victory. He improved to a 15-2 lifetime record against the Lions.

At Incheon SK Happy Dream Park, the KT Wiz defeated the home team SK Wyverns 8-4, on the strength of two home runs.

KT's Kim Yeun-hun, who'd spent five seasons with SK, hit a two-run home run in the top second, his first long ball since July of last year.

The Wyverns erased the deficit in the bottom third when Hector Gomez blasted a three-run home run, and built a 4-2 lead with Kim Sung-hyun's RBI single.

That would be the end of SK's offense. The Wiz touched SK starter Kim Kwang-hyun for five runs in the top fifth, highlighted by Yoon Yo-sup's two-run home run.

Kim Kwang-hyun, who had a 9.00 ERA against the Wiz last season, worse than any other opponent, was tagged for nine hits in 4 2/3 innings Friday.

At Masan Stadium in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province, the host NC Dinos edged out the Kia Tigers 5-4.

Son Si-heon broke the 4-4 tie with a two-out single off Zeke Spruill in the bottom eighth, after teams traded home runs.

NC's veteran designated hitter Lee Ho-jun opened the scoring with a two-run home run in the second, the first long ball of the 2016 season. After Paik Yong-hwan answered for the Tigers with a solo home run, Eric Thames, the 2015 league MVP for the Dinos, came back with a two-run bomb for a 4-1 lead.

The Tigers rallied with two runs in the top fourth, and made it 4-4 thanks to Kim Won-sup's RBI double in the sixth.

The Tigers rolled the dice with Spruill, who signed as a starter, but he ended up taking the loss after allowing the go-ahead single to Son.


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