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Offense explodes as NC Dinos extend KBO winning streak to 15

All Headlines 09:24 June 20, 2016

SEOUL, June 20 (Yonhap) -- They say winning becomes a habit in sports, and it's one that the NC Dinos would certainly not like to break any time soon.

The Dinos remain undefeated in June in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), after extending their winning streak to 15 Sunday with a 15-7 victory over the KT Wiz.

It's tied for the fourth-longest winning streak in the league's 34-year history. The SK Wyverns won 22 consecutive games from Aug. 25 2009 to March 30 2010. The Wyverns also own the second-longest run of victories with 16, from April 14 to May 4 in 2010.

The Samsung Lions once won 16 games in a row in 1986 and 15 in a row in 2002.

The Dinos' latest victory was powered by the type of offensive explosion that hasn't been often seen even in the high-scoring league.

The heart of their vaunted lineup, Na Sung-bum, Eric Thames, Lee Ho-jun and Park Sok-min, all homered in the same game for the first time this season. It's the kind of production that the Dinos envisioned when they signed Park, former All-Star third baseman with the Lions, to a lucrative free agent deal in the winter.

On Sunday, Park, batting sixth, led off the top of the third with a game-tying solo shot that knotted the score at 4-4.

Then with the Dinos again down 6-5 in the top of the seventh, Na, a fourth-year outfielder and a future MVP material, launched a go-ahead grand slam.
Thames, the reigning league MVP, followed up with a solo shot.

Thames wasn't done. He blasted a three-run homer in the top of the eighth, and then Lee, a 40-year-old veteran in his 20th season, joined in on the act with a solo home run.

It marked only the fourth time in the league history that a team had back-to-back home runs in two straight innings.

These four sluggers drove in 14 of the Dinos' 15 runs.

The Dinos scored four times in the top of the first, but the Wiz answered back with three runs in the bottom half of that inning. NC starter Jung Soo-min failed to record an out, and manager Kim Kyung-moon credited his sluggers with picking up the slack.

"I thought we'd be in for a long night after Jung Soo-min struggled out of the gate," Kim said. "But our offense fired on all cylinders and we were able to keep our winning streak alive."

Na, 26, is coming off his second consecutive season of at least 25 home runs and 100 RBIs. With 14 homers, Na is already half way to his last year's total. He drove in a career-high 135 runs last year and could eclipse that mark, with 64 in 61 games this year.

The grand slam on Sunday was the first of his career.

"I am happy my first grand slam help the club extend the winning streak," Na said. "I stepped up to the plate thinking I should try to hit a sacrifice fly, and it led to a positive result."

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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