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LG Twins beat defending champ Doosan Bears to open KBO preseason

All News 17:02 April 21, 2020

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, April 21 (Yonhap) -- With all the hype surrounding the schedule of the new season of South Korean baseball on Tuesday, there were actual games taking place on the field.

In the nation's capital, the LG Twins defeated the defending Korean Series champion Doosan Bears 5-2 to start the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) preseason.

It was one of five games held across the league Tuesday, as all 10 teams got to face opponents other than their own teammates for the first time since the end of their spring training.

A Korea Baseball Organization preseason game between the LG Twins and the Doosan Bears is under way at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on April 21, 2020. (Yonhap)

In light of the coronavirus outbreak, the KBO wiped out the initial March 14-24 preseason and postponed the March 28 Opening Day. Earlier this month, the league rescheduled the preseason to run April 21-27, with teams set to play four games apiece.

The KBO on Tuesday settled on May 5 as the new start date for the regular season, and it added three more preseason games per team.

All preseason games, plus the early portion of the regular season, will be played without fans, due to lingering COVID-19 concerns despite a recent decline in new cases here.

The Twins struck first against the Bears with Chae Eun-seong's two-out RBI single in the bottom first. They put up four runs on the board in the fifth, which featured Kim Ho-eun's RBI single and Kim Min-sung's two-out double.

Down 5-0, the Bears got a run back in the top seventh, as Oh Jae-won's single cashed in Oh Jae-il, who had hit a towering double to center field earlier.

LG Twins players celebrate a run scored against the Doosan Bears in a Korea Baseball Organization preseason game at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on April 21, 2020. (Yonhap)

Kook Hae-seong's solo home run in the eighth cut the deficit to 5-2, but the Bears could not get any closer.

Both managers, Ryu Joong-il for the Twins and Kim Tae-hyoung for the Bears, filled their lineups with regulars, with the Bears' former MVP-winning slugger Kim Jae-hwan being the only notable absence on either side. There are only six more games left before the regular season. That is not enough time for clubs to test young prospects, unless they were willing to sacrifice some playing opportunity for veterans in their buildup.

On the mound, the Twins' left-hander Cha Woo-chan struck out the side in the first as part of his two shutout innings. Ryu said Cha has been his best pitcher in spring and the 32-year-old could get the Opening Day nod in two weeks.

Right-hander Lee Young-ha got the start for the Bears, and he scattered four hits across three innings. The run he allowed in the first inning was unearned, as it was scored following an error.

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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