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Heroes knock off defending champions Wiz in KBO postseason

All News 17:23 October 22, 2022

SEOUL, Oct. 22 (Yonhap) -- The Kiwoom Heroes sent the defending champions KT Wiz packing in the South Korean baseball postseason Saturday.

No. 9 hitter Song Sung-mun had another signature October moment with a go-ahead two-run shot in the fourth, while starter An Woo-jin struck out eight in six solid innings, as the Heroes edged out the Wiz 4-3 in Game 5 of their best-of-five first round action.

Song Sung-mun of the Kiwoom Heroes celebrates his two-run home run against the KT Wiz during the bottom of the fourth inning of Game 5 of the first round in the Korea Baseball Organization postseason at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on Oct. 22, 2022. (Yonhap)

Song Sung-mun of the Kiwoom Heroes celebrates his two-run home run against the KT Wiz during the bottom of the fourth inning of Game 5 of the first round in the Korea Baseball Organization postseason at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on Oct. 22, 2022. (Yonhap)

The Heroes will go on to meet the LG Twins in the second round, also a best-of-five, starting Monday. The Twins had earned a bye to that stage after posting the second-best record in the regular season.

The Wiz won their first Korean Series last year but came up short in their bid to become the first repeat champions in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) since the 2015-16 Doosan Bears.

The Wiz had failed to score off An in six innings in their Game 1 loss last Sunday, but they got to him in the top of the first inning Saturday, as Anthony Alford cashed in Bae Jung-dae, who'd led off the game with a single.

The Heroes tied the score in the bottom second against starter Wes Benjamin, who'd shut them down over seven innings in Game 2 five days earlier. Yasiel Puig hit a one-out double, and Jeon Byeong-woo brought him home with a triple.

Kiwoom Heroes starter An Woo-jin pitches against the KT Wiz during Game 5 of the first round in the Korea Baseball Organization postseason at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on Oct. 22, 2022. (Yonhap)

Kiwoom Heroes starter An Woo-jin pitches against the KT Wiz during Game 5 of the first round in the Korea Baseball Organization postseason at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on Oct. 22, 2022. (Yonhap)

Alford broke the tie with a solo home run off An, his first postseason homer in the KBO, for a 2-1 KT lead.

The Heroes wasted a bases-loaded opportunity in the third inning, set up by a couple of singles that sandwiched an intentional walk to Lee Jung-hoo. Puig couldn't capitalize, though, as he grounded out to third baseman Hwang Jae-gyun, who bobbled the ball but recovered in time to throw out the slugger.

The Heroes, though, claimed the lead for good in the very next frame. Benjamin allowed a leadoff double to Lee Ji-young but settled down with back-to-back strikeouts. But he couldn't get past Song, who drove a high slider into the right-field stands to put the Heroes up 3-2.

The Heroes got their insurance run in the fifth, thanks to Benjamin's wild pitch with the bases loaded.

That run proved crucial, as the Wiz got a run back thanks to Jang Sung-woo's double against reliever Yang Hyun in the eighth inning.

Kiwoom Heroes players celebrate their 4-3 victory over the KT Wiz in Game 5 of the first round in the Korea Baseball Organization postseason at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on Oct. 22, 2022. (Yonhap)

Kiwoom Heroes players celebrate their 4-3 victory over the KT Wiz in Game 5 of the first round in the Korea Baseball Organization postseason at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on Oct. 22, 2022. (Yonhap)

An error put the runners at the corners for the Wiz in the same inning, but closer Kim Jae-woong put out the fire by getting a fielder's choice grounder off Kim Min-hyuck's bat.

Kim then pitched a clean ninth inning for the save.

An was voted the series MVP after holding the Wiz to two earned runs over 12 innings in two starts while striking out 17.

jeeho@yna.co.kr
(END)

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