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(LEAD) Postseason sluggers stay hot after mini-break

All Headlines 22:49 October 25, 2017

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GWANGJU, Oct. 25 (Yonhap) -- A few days of break in the increasingly chilly October weather did nothing to cool down a pair of hot bats in the ongoing South Korean baseball postseason.

Kim Jae-hwan and Oh Jae-il went back-to-back to lift the Doosan Bears to a 5-3 victory over the Kia Tigers in Game 1 of the Korean Series, the championship final in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), at Gwangju-Kia Champions Field in Gwangju, 330 kilometers south of Seoul.

With the Bears already up 2-0 in the top of the fourth and Kia starter Hector Noesi struggling with his command, Kim, batting cleanup, jumped on a high fastball at 1-2 count and sent it over the right field wall.

Kim Jae-hwan of the Doosan Bears watches his two-run home run against the Kia Tigers in the top of the fifth inning in Game 1 of the Korean Series at Gwangju-Kia Champions Field in Gwangju on Oct. 25, 2017. (Yonhap)

It was Kim's fourth home run of this postseason. The left-handed slugger had three in four games in the previous round against the NC Dinos.

Oh, who also bats left-handed, followed up with a solo blast, also coming on a 1-2 high fastball, to give the Bears a 5-0 lead.

Oh was the MVP of the previous series thanks to five home runs and 12 RBIs. He batted 9-for-15 (.600) in that series.

Oh put on a historic performance in Game 4, blasting four homers and knocking in nine runs to set KBO postseason records in both categories.

Kim also homered in that game, which was played Saturday. The Bears then had three days off before traveling to Gwangju for the first two games of the Korean Series.

And Kim and Oh picked up right where they left off at the plate.

Noesi pitched around those two earlier. Both hitters drew four-pitch walks in their previous plate appearances before going deep off the right-hander.

"I am just pleased that we won this game," Kim said. "Whether it's driving in a run or scoring a run, I'll try to help the club win."

Kim said having an in-form teammate hitting behind him has helped him a great deal.

"Since I have someone who's swinging the bat really well coming up behind me, I know I don't have to do too much all the time," Kim added. "I am more relaxed at the plate, and that's led to some good results."

The Bears are going for their third straight championship, and Kim was a major part of the Bears' four-game sweep of the Dinos in last year's Korean Series.

He batted .294 with two home runs and 11 RBIs in those four games, and has continued his strong postseason play this year.

Oh, on the other hand, has been on a journey to redemption.

In last year's Korean Series, Oh was just 1-for-17. In three previous Korean Series before this year, Oh had batted only 5-for-37 (.135) with one home run in 15 games.

Though Oh has played just one game in this year's Korean Series, he's already begun to write a much different script.

Oh Jae-il of the Doosan Bears points to his dugout after hitting a solo home run against the Kia Tigers in the top of the fifth inning in Game 1 of the Korean Series at Gwangju-Kia Champions Field in Gwangju on Oct. 25, 2017. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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