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(LEAD) LG Twins walk off on NC Dinos, stay alive in postseason

All Headlines 23:56 October 24, 2016

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

SEOUL, Oct. 24 (Yonhap) -- The LG Twins walked off on the NC Dinos 2-1 to stay alive in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) postseason on Monday.

Yang Suk-hwan delivered a pinch-hit infield single in the bottom of the 11th at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul, as the Twins won their first game in the best-of-five second round series after dropping two straight.

And the sloppy contest that set a postseason record for most walks and hit-by-pitches in a game with 25 was -- perhaps fittingly -- decided by an infield single off a pitcher's glove, though it was made possible by a spectacular defensive play earlier.

Game 4 is back at Jamsil at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The Twins didn't have to swing the bat to score their first run, as NC starter Jang Hyun-sik was all over the place.

The 21-year-old right-hander, making just the sixth start of his career, walked the first two batters of the game. He settled down to get two fly outs but issued another free pass to load the bases.

Jang then walked Chae Eun-seong on four pitches to let in the game's first run.

Jang tied the postseason record for most walks issued in one inning. He needed 34 pitches to get out of the opening frame, 21 of them balls.

Jang couldn't find the zone in the second inning, either. He walked the first batter of the inning, Chung Sang-ho, on four pitches, twice throwing over and behind Chung's head.

Right-hander Choi Keum-kang took over and got two fly outs. But he then walked two straight batters to load the bases, before striking out Luis Jimenez to get out of the jam.

Yang Suk-hwan of the LG Twins (second from L) is doused with water after hitting a walk-off infield single against the NC Dinos in their Korea Baseball Organization postseason game at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on Oct. 24, 2016. (Yonhap)

And it wouldn't be the first time the Twins failed to pad their lead -- not by a long shot.

In the third, Kim Yong-eui lined out to center with men at the corners. In the next inning, the Twins loaded the bases for the third time, aided by two more walks, but Chae Eun-seong flied out to right to kill the rally.

The Dinos themselves wasted a bases-loaded opportunity in the top fifth. LG starter Ryu Jae-kuk gave up a single and then hit two batters, but got Na Sung-bum to ground out to second.

The Dinos finally tied the score in the top sixth. Park Sok-min drew a two-out walk and moved to second on a passed ball, and Son Si-heon also got a free pass from Ryu, who was promptly lifted for Jeong Chang-heon.

Jeong couldn't hold on to the lead, as No. 8 hitter Kim Tae-gun lined a single up the middle to bring home Park.

The Twins once again loaded the bases in the sixth, thanks to -- what else? -- two walks sandwiching a double. Chae came up in the big spot again, and he failed to deliver again, as he grounded into a fielder's choice.

The Twins wasted two more bases-loaded opportunities in the eighth. A hit and two HBPs by reliever Lee Min-ho packed the bases for Luis Jimenez, for his second plate appearance with three aboard.

Jimenez chopped one down the third base line, and third baseman Park Sok-min fielded it and stepped on the bag for the force. He then caught Moon Seon-jae between third and home, and tossed to catcher Kim Tae-gun to start the rundown.

Moon appeared to avoid Kim's tag after going down on all fours, and touched home before the NC catcher's toss reached Lee covering the plate.

The Dinos challenged the call and asked for a video review. Replays showed Kim's glove did touch Moon in the back to complete the double play.

The Twins still had another chance to break the tie, as Lee hit another batter to load the bases.

Chae Eun-seong stepped up for the fifth time with the bases full, and again failed to deliver a hit. He sent a sinking liner to shallow right, with Na Sung-bum making a spectacular diving grab to close out another frustrating inning.

The Dinos put two men on with one out in the top ninth, but a pop out and a groundout erased them.

The Dinos threatened again in the top of the 11th. They had two on with two outs with Na at the plate. Mired in a 1-for-12 slump this series, Na jumped on the first pitch from Lim and drove it deep to right center.

Center fielder Ahn Ik-hun, who entered the game as a defensive replacement in that inning, sprinted all the way to the track and made an outstanding running grab.

That gave the Twins new life. A walk, a single and a sac bunt put men at second and third. Yang came off the bench and hit a comebacker off the glove of reliever Kim Jin-sung, who watched helplessly as the ball trickled toward charging shortstop Son Si-heon.

Son had no play anywhere, as Jimenez sprinted home to end the marathon affair after nearly five hours.

LG manager Yang Sang-moon said he put Ahn into the game in extra innings, thinking his excellent glove would come in handy with their season on the line.

"Ahn is the hero for us today," Yang said. "When I sent him out there, I had a feeling that we would see a batted ball that could determine the outcome of the game. I figured we'd have a chance to win if he could make a couple of plays."

The Twins will try to even the series Tuesday with side-arm pitcher Woo Kyu-min on the mound.

Woo hasn't pitched since Oct. 14, when he was touched for four earned runs in 3 1/3 innings against the Nexen Heroes in the first round.

The Dinos will counter with Eric Hacker, who tossed seven strong innings and held the Twins to two runs in Game 1. He didn't get a decision then.

The right-hander will be pitching on three days' rest after making 97 pitches Friday.

Hacker was 2-0 with a 1.42 in two regular season starts at Jamsil.


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