The KIA Tigers rebounded from a three-game losing streak with two straight wins to secure a weekend sweep. Starting pitcher Lee Yi-ri earned his sixth win of the season with his second quality start of the season.
On June 10, KIA won 6-3 against the Doosan Bears in Jamsil. The win was their second in a row and kept KIA in sixth place in the league with 25 wins and 27 losses on the season. They closed the gap to fifth-place Doosan by 1.5 games.
The team’s bats came alive in the first inning. In the top of the first inning, leadoff hitter Ryu Ji-hyuk singled up the middle and advanced to third on a grounder to third by pinch-hitter Park Chan-ho. Ryu Ji-hyeok slid into third base while the throw was being made, creating a one-out, three-run opportunity.
Socrates’ subsequent grounder to shortstop allowed third baseman Ryu Ji-hyuk to score the first run of the game. Ryu Ji-hyeok’s sensible base running made the difference.
KIA added another run two batters later in the inning when Shin Bum-soo singled to shortstop with runners on second and third after a walk by Lee Chang-jin and a single to right by Byun Woo-hyuk.
However, in the bottom of the third, starting pitcher Lee Yi-ri suddenly struggled with his pitches. KIA gave up two hits and a walk in the bottom of the inning, leaving the bases loaded. Lee gave up back-to-back push balls to Lee Yoo-chan and Yang Yang-ji to tie the game at 2-2. He then gave up a sacrifice fly to the next batter, Yang Seok-hwan.
The KIA bats came right back. After back-to-back singles by Kim Sun-bin and Lee Woo-sung put runners on first and second in the top of the fourth inning, Byun Woo-hyuk tied the game with a single up the middle.
In the top of the fifth inning, Socrates and Choi Hyung-woo came through again. KIA started the fifth with a leadoff single by Ryu Ji-hyuk and a walk to Socrates to put runners on first and second. Choi Hyung-woo took advantage of the change in pitcher Park Chi-guk and lined a single to right field. A throwing error by the right fielder allowed Socrates to score from third.
Meanwhile, starting pitcher Lee Yi-ri continued to pitch well. After getting out of a jam in the bottom of the third, Lee struck out Kim Dae-hyun with runners on second and third in the bottom of the fourth to end the inning.
In the bottom of the fifth, Lee retired the side in order to earn his sixth win of the season, and in the top of the sixth, he retired back-to-back batters for his second quality start of the season. Lee finished the day with six innings, 95 pitches, four runs, four hits, four walks and three strikeouts. It was a result that far exceeded the expectations of manager Kim Jong-kook, who wanted him to go at least five innings.
KIA turned to its bullpen in the seventh inning. Kim Yoo-shin (0.2 innings), Park Jun-pyo (1.1 innings), and Jang Hyun-sik (1 inning) shut down the Doosan bats to preserve the win. In the top of the ninth inning, Choi Hyung-woo singled with runners on first and second.
Ryu Ji-hyuk (2 hits, 2 runs), Socrates (1 hit, 1 run, 1 RBI, 2 walks), Choi Hyung-woo (2 hits, 2 RBI), Byun Woo-hyuk (2 hits, 1 RBI, 1 walk), and Shin Beom-soo (2 hits, 1 RBI, 1 walk) were the top performers for the team 안전놀이터.
“In front of the league’s No. 1 and No. 2 hitters (Socrates and Choi Hyung-woo), it will be easier to score runs if the table setters set the table well,” Kim said before the game. As Kim hoped, after Ryu Ji-hyuk singled, Tes and Hyung-woo came to the rescue and scored the decisive runs to help the team win.