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Teammates tie for lead with 20 wins; slugger wins 2nd straight home run crown

All Headlines 22:25 October 03, 2017

SEOUL, Oct. 3 (Yonhap) -- The 2017 Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) season saw a pair of teammates tie for the league lead 20 wins, while a slugger claimed his second straight home run crown.

The 144-game regular season drew to a conclusion Tuesday with the Kia Tigers taking the pennant at 87-56-1 (wins-losses-ties).

The Tigers led all clubs with a .302 team batting average, but they also got the job done on my mound, led by Hector Noesi and Yang Hyeon-jong, the KBO's best one-two punch.

Noesi and Yang tied for the league lead with 20 wins a piece. Yang got there first on Monday, and Noesi joined him by winning his final regular season start against the KT Wiz on Tuesday.

Hector Noesi of the Kia Tigers delivers a pitch against the KT Wiz in the clubs' Korea Baseball Organization regular season game at KT Wiz Park in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, on Oct. 3, 2017. (Yonhap)

They're only the second set of teammates to win 20 or more games in the same season, after Kim Si-jin and Kim Il-yoong each had 25 wins for the 1985 Samsung Lions.

Noesi also led the KBO with 201 2/3 innings pitched and with a .800 winning percentage, thanks to a 20-5 record.

Ryan Feierabend of the last-place KT Wiz won the ERA title at 3.04, despite going 8-10 in 26 starts. Merrill Kelly of the SK Wyverns led all pitchers with 189 strikeouts.

Lotte Giants' closer Son Seung-lak recorded 37 saves to capture his fourth career saves title.

On the offensive end, Wyverns' third baseman Choi Jeong topped the homer-happy league with 46 long balls.

Last year he shared the league's home run title with NC Dinos' Eric Thames with 40 home runs apiece. With Thames now playing for the Milwaukee Brewers, Choi had the sole possession of the crown this time with a new career high.

Choi entered the All-Star break with 31 home runs in 82 games, and was on pace to reach the half-century mark. But he tailed off with 15 homers in 48 games in the second half, including just two dingers in 18 games in August. Choi hit his final home run on Sept. 14, and was held without a long ball over his final seven games.

Choi also led the KBO with a .684 slugging percentage.

In this file photo taken on Sept. 14, 2017, Choi Jeong of the SK Wyverns hits a solo home run against the Doosan Bears in the clubs' Korea Baseball Organization game at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul. (Yonhap)

Among other categories, Tigers' shortstop Kim Sun-bin captured his first batting title with a .370 mark. His teammate, outfielder Roger Bernadina, led the way with 118 runs scored in his first KBO season. Another Kia outfielder, Choi Hyoung-woo, was the leader with 96 walks and a .450 on-base percentage.

Giants' outfielder Son A-seop led all players with 193 hits. The RBI crown went to former major leaguer Darin Ruf, who drove in 124 runs for the Samsung Lions.

Ruf's Samsung teammate, Park Hae-min, was first in steals with 40. That's the lowest total by the KBO's steals leader in the league's 35-year history. Park also topped the league in steals in each of the past two years -- 60 in 2015 and 52 last year.

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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