Lotte Giants continue their momentum with a two-run comeback win over Tuta Harmony. Lee Jung-geun had the game of his life.
Lotte came from behind to win 10-5 against SSG Landers in the regular season of the Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League 2023 at Sajik Stadium 꽁머니지급 in Busan on Friday. With the win, Lotte extended its winning streak to two games and improved to 48 wins and 51 losses on the season. SSG had its two-game winning streak snapped, falling to 55-42-1.
Park Se-woong pitched a quality start, allowing two runs on four hits with two walks and three strikeouts in six innings to snap a personal five-game losing streak. At the plate, Lee Jung-geun paced the offense, going 4-for-3 with a home run, two RBIs, two walks, and a career-high five runs batted in. Noh Jin-hyuk also contributed with five hits, three doubles and three RBIs.
For SSG, starter Elias struggled, giving up three runs on seven hits (one home run) in four innings, and the bullpen followed suit. In particular, closer Go Hyo-joon gave up five runs in ⅓ of an inning and completely lost the game.
SSG lined up with Choo Shin-soo (right fielder), Choi Ji-hoon (center fielder), Choi Joo-hwan (first baseman), Choi Jung (third baseman), Park Sung-sung (shortstop), Kim Kang-min (designated hitter), Han Yu-seom (left fielder), Kim Min-sik (catcher), and Kim Sung-hyun (second baseman). The starting pitcher was Roenis Elias. However, in the bottom of the first inning, Han Yoo-seom, who started in the No. 7 left field spot, was removed from the lineup. An SSG representative said, “He had a fever before the start of the game and was replaced by Ha Jae-hoon. We will make a decision on medical treatment after seeing the fever drop.”
Lotte’s starting lineup consisted of Yoon Dong-hee (right fielder), Ahn Chi-hong (second baseman), Jeong Hoon (first baseman), Jeon Jun-woo (designated hitter), Lee Jung-hoon (left fielder), Gudrum (third baseman), Shin Jung-geun (catcher), Noh Jin-hyuk (shortstop), and Kim Min-seok (center fielder). It is noteworthy that Lee Jung-geun, who has been hitting well lately, is batting seventh.
SSG’s surprise bunt by former major leaguer breaks perfect game in the third inning
The SSG batting lineup was thoroughly stymied by Lotte starter Park Se-woong until the third inning. They were unable to do much until the top of the third inning. In particular, in the first inning, Shin-soo Choo and Joo-hwan Choi’s balls to left-center field were picked off by center fielder Kim Min-seok. They were facing a perfect game.
However, the tense balance was shattered by a surprise hit. In the top of the fourth inning, Choo Shin-soo hit a surprise bunt between the pitcher and first baseman. It was his first hit of the game, and it opened the floodgates.
Choi Ji-hoon popped out to center field, but Choi Ju-hwan hit a double down the left field line. On the Lotte replay, Ahn Chi-hong spilled the ball and scored. First baseman Choo Shin-soo was stopped at third base but managed to score. Choi Jung-jeong followed with a single to left and Park Sung-sung walked to load the bases. Luck was on their side. Kim Kang-min hit a grounder to the shortstop. Byungsal Tae-seong was on course. This time, however, shortstop Noh Jin-hyuk caught the ball and didn’t make a quick enough throw to second base. It was a double play, and the runner from third came home to make it 2-0.
LOTTE comes right back with a bang, thanks to ‘Bomb No. 7’ Yang Ji Hyun-jin
Lotte answered right back in the bottom of the fourth inning. The Giants, who had missed opportunities such as runners on first and second with no outs in the first inning, scored immediately after the error. Jeon Jun-woo, who had a single in the first inning, led off the fourth with a solo shot to left. He took advantage of a 145-kilometer fastball from SSG starter Roenis Elias. His 11th home run of the season. It was 1-2.
Lee struck out, but Goodrum hit a single to right-center field. He then overthrew between the first and second bases, but took advantage of the opponent’s throw to first base and stole second. Lee then hit an RBI single to right-center field to tie the game at 2-2. The momentum continued for Lee, who is batting 5-for-13 with seven home runs, eight RBIs and two runs scored in the previous four games. After a leadoff double by Noh Jin-hyuk and a walk by Kim Min-seok, Yoon Dong-hee’s sacrifice fly to right field scored one more run to make it 3-2.
The momentum continued in the fifth inning. Lotte had runners on first and second with no outs in the bottom of the fifth after Jung Hoon singled and Jeon Jun-woo walked, but Lee Jung-hoon’s sacrifice bunt attempt failed and the runner was caught at third. With runners on first and second, Gudrum flied out to center field to put runners on second and third. But Jung was waiting. He smashed an RBI single to left field to make it 4-2. He completed a three-hit game, including a double in the second inning.
Park Se-woong bounces back to end five-game losing streak, Choi Jun-yong falters, Shim Jae-min stumbles
Park had lost five straight games and had a 7.40 ERA (20 earned runs in 24⅓ innings). He needed a reversal. He was desperate to end the losing streak. After pitching perfectly through three innings, he was shaken by a surprise bunt hit by Shin-Soo Choo in the fourth inning and gave up two runs with no help from his defense. However, he retired the side in order in both the fifth and sixth innings. He pitched a quality start, allowing two runs on four hits with two walks and three strikeouts in six innings.
But in the seventh inning, after Park went down, Lotte was in trouble. Choi Jun-yong gave up a leadoff single to Ha Jae-hoon and struck out pinch-hitter Choi Jun-woo, but Kim Sung-hyun’s bunt was misplayed by third baseman Gudrum, putting runners on first and second. The pitcher was replaced by Shim Jae-min. Shim gave up a single to left field to the first batter, Shin-Soo Choo. It was 4-3. Left fielder Ahn Kwon-soo made a poor defense. There were runners on first and second. However, Shim Jae-min got Choi Ji-hoon to fly out to shortstop and Choi Joo-hwan to ground out to second base to end the threat. The threat of a comeback was averted.
Chance after crisis, four-run big inning after Shim Jae-min’s save
He capitalized on a late-inning opportunity. In the bottom of the seventh inning, Gudrum singled to shortstop and Lee walked to put runners on first and second with one out, and Noh singled to right to make it 5-3. In the bottom of the inning, Kim Min-seok doubled to right field to score a run, and in the bottom of the inning, Yoon Dong-hee singled to right field and Ahn Chi-hong singled to center field to make it 8-3.
SSG got two runs back in the top of the eighth on Park Sung-ho’s two-run double, but Noh Jin-hyuk’s RBI single in the bottom of the inning sealed the deal.