(ATTN: ADDS comments, photo)
By Yoo Jee-ho
CHANGWON, South Korea, Nov. 2 (Yonhap) -- The Doosan Bears are the champions of South Korean baseball for the second straight year.
The Bears defeated the NC Dinos 8-1 on Wednesday to complete the four-game sweep of the Korean Series at Masan Stadium in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province, 400 kilometers southeast of Seoul. They now have five Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) championships.
The series MVP Yang Eui-ji blasted a solo shot as part of his three-hit night, and starter Yoo Hee-kwan tossed five shutout innings for the win, as the Bears held the Dinos to a run for the second time in the series.
The Bears ran away with the pennant this year, putting up a new single-season record of 93 wins, and the Korean Series sweep capped off one of the most dominant seasons in recent memory.
This was the seventh sweep in 34 Korean Series. The Bears outscored the Dinos 20-2 in the four games, setting the record for fewest runs allowed in one Korean Series.
Doosan manager Kim Tae-hyung became the third skipper to win two Korean Series titles in the first two years on the job.
"I was worried about the players before the series, but it's great to get this done for the second straight year," Kim said. "I want to thank the players and coaches for their hard work. My job is to try to go for the third and fourth straight championships. It's always good to finish first."
Neither starter looked particularly sharp early on in Game 4. NC's Zach Stewart gave up a single and hit a batter in the first inning but kept the Bears off the board. Doosan's Yoo pitched around a single and two walks in the scoreless first inning.
Then with one out in the top second, Yang hammered a 1-2 slider over the left field wall to give the Bears a 1-0 lead.
After Yang's home run, Stewart settled down and held the Bears scoreless over the next three frames before the bullpen took over.
Yoo shook off the adventurous opening frame and put up four consecutive perfect innings.
Stewart left the game after five innings, and the Bears jumped on reliever Won Jong-hyun for three runs in the top sixth to give Yoo much-needed breathing room.
After a pair of singles, Yang knocked in his second run of the game with a double into the right field corner and doubled the Bears' lead to 2-0.
Hur Kyoung-min then followed up with a double of his own, plating two more runs for a 4-0 cushion.
The Dinos finally got to Yoo in the sixth, getting two straight singles to start the inning. The second of the hits chased Yoo from the game, and put the men at the corners.
Left-hander Lee Hyun-seung came in to face the heart of the Dinos lineup and struck out No. 3 hitter Na Sung-bum.
Cleanup Eric Thames hit a chopper to third baseman Hur Kyoung-min, who threw home to get Park Min-woo out at the plate.
Park rammed into Yang standing his ground at the plate, and the Bears catcher held on to the ball as he fell to the ground in the violent collision, keeping the Dinos off the board.
Another fine defensive play closed out the inning. Park Sok-min grounded one deep into the hole between third and short, and shortstop Kim Jae-ho grabbed it in shallow left and made an accurate throw to first for the final out.
The Bears then erased any lingering doubt with four runs in the top ninth, when Oh Jae-won launched a three-run home run and Nick Evans hit an RBI single for an 8-0 advantage.
Thames hit a solo shot to lead off the ninth inning, but it was way too little, too late for the Dinos, which managed just two runs and two extra-base hits the entire series.
BTS album ranked on Billboard chart for 20th consecutive week
Choking fine dust envelops S. Korea for 5th straight day
Korea, Denmark to celebrate 60th year of relationship with cultural events
(LEAD) S. Korea's military forgoes 'enemy' label against N. Korea in white paper
S. Korean football prospect makes history with La Liga debut
(2nd LD) Top N. Korean official in D.C. for talks with Pompeo
(6th LD) Trump, Kim to hold 2nd summit near end of Feb.: White House
(2nd LD) S. Korea's nuclear envoy may visit Sweden for talks with N. Korea: source
K-pop singer banned from South Korea releases new album online
Prosecutors seek arrest warrant for former Supreme Court chief justice