Moon Sang-chul’s final hit in the 9th inning… KT defeats LG to clinch Korean Series lead
You hit into a triple play on offense, get caught stealing home twice, and still win. By one run. A 3-2 win. It was a lucky break at the end. KT defeated regular season champion LG 3-2 in Game 1 of the 2023 Korean Series on Sunday. KT, which had won three in a row after losing two in a row in the playoffs, continued its four-game winning streak in “fall baseball. It will now look to reclaim its crown two years after winning its first title in 2021. In the history of the Korean Series, the team that wins Game 1 has gone on to win the title 29 out of 39 times. That’s a 74.4 percent chance.
After a tedious offensive battle, the game was decided in the top of the ninth inning. With the score at 2-2, LG brought up closer Go Woo-seok (25). Go struck out the first two batters (Park Byung-ho and Jang Sung-woo), but walked Choi Jae-dae (28) after a nine-pitch at-bat. With two on and one out, the next batter was Moon Sang-chul (32). 먹튀검증 A very strong hitter who went 3-for-3 against Go Woo-seok in the regular season, he pulled a 133-mile-per-hour curveball that Go Woo-seok threw on a six-pitch count of 2-2 and hit the top of the left field fence. He roared down the third-base line, taking advantage of an error.
Moon was held hitless in his first three at-bats, striking out twice.
Trailing 1-2 in the top of the second inning, he grounded into a triple play. The nightmare began when he laid down a bunt on his own, without any bench instructions, and the ball stopped after landing in the batter’s box. LG catcher Park Dong-won threw to shortstop Oh Ji-hwan, who was playing third base, to force out the runner at second, and Oh quickly threw to first base to catch Moon Sang-chul. Meanwhile, KT’s Choi Byeong-dae, who was on first base, was caught running from second to third.
For the official record, the triple by Moon Sang-chul was followed by a run-scoring catch. It was the second triple in the history of the Korean Series. It had been 19 years since Hyundai’s Yang Jun-hyuk tripled off Samsung’s first baseman with runners on first and second in the top of the seventh inning in Game 7 of the 2004 Korean Series.
A loss would have turned Moon into a villain, but the final out turned him into a hero. “There was no bunt sign (and) I thought I had to tie it up quickly, so I did it on my own,” Moon said after the game. “I had a lot of weight on my shoulders (after failing), but my teammates said, ‘You just need to hit one. You’ll get a chance,’ so they took the pressure off me,” he said.
KT continued to be disappointing on the basepaths.
In the top of the fourth inning, after Hwang Jae-gyun and Anthony Alford drew back-to-back walks, Jang Sung-woo singled to tie the game. LG’s Oh Ji-hwan, who was relaying the ball, threw a bad throw to home plate. Alford tried to run home, but stopped and went back to third base. He could have saved himself if he had just come in, but he didn’t think fast enough, and the ball was thrown home by LG pitcher Kelly, who caught it behind home plate.
This time, Alford drove home again. It looked like he was trying to make up for his earlier decision. Not so, as the catcher snatched the ball from the side and threw to the first baseman, who came in to make the catch, leaving Alford with plenty of time to get home.
In the seventh inning, pinch-hitter Kim Min-hyuk hit a single to right, but Jang Jang-woo (33), who was racing home, was thrown out at the plate by LG right fielder Hong Chang-ki. Jang was slow, and Hong was accurate.
Despite the frustrating offense, the KT mound was solid.
Starting pitcher Ko Young-pyo, 32, came out on four days’ rest and went six innings and seven hits, allowing two runs (one earned) on two hard-hit balls. He struck out the side with an exquisite curveball in each inning. The next two pitchers, Son Dong-hyun (22) and Park Young-hyun (20), were perfect in the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings, respectively. Their aggressive pitching with strikes from the first pitch stood out.
LG started the series in a festive mood, as they made it to the Korean Series for the first time in 21 years after finishing as runners-up in the 2002 Korean Series, but the bats didn’t explode. After falling behind 1-0 in the top of the first inning when Austin Dean’s infield grounder to second baseman Park Kyung-soo scored a run and Moon Bo-kyung’s sacrifice fly to right field in the bottom of the inning cut the deficit to 2-1, LG was unable to add another run.
They had runners on second and third in the second, second and third in the fourth, and second and second in the fifth, but couldn’t capitalize. From the sixth through the ninth innings, he retired four straight batters.
While he showed some flashes of brilliance, he also committed four errors.
In the sold-out crowd of 23,750 at Jamsil Stadium, many fans wore jumpers that symbolized LG’s fall baseball. Owner and LG Group Chairman Koo Kwang-mo was in attendance, hoping for the team’s first win in 29 years, since the 1994 Korean Series, but he was not rewarded with a victory.
LG starter Kelly allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits and two walks until the top of the seventh inning. He struck out six. Lee Jeong-yong and Ham Deok-joo then pitched a scoreless eighth inning, but trusted closer Ko Woo-seok collapsed.
Game 2 will be held at the same venue on the 8th. LG announced Choi Won-tae and KT announced William Cuevas as their starting pitchers. “I thought we lost the momentum after the triple play in the second inning, but Ko Young-pyo did a good job,” KT manager Lee Kang-cheol said. LG manager Yeom Kyung-yeop said, “I’m sorry we didn’t win because we had a lot of fans. Overall, the feeling of the game is not bad.”