Park Byung-ho’s wedges helped Ko Young-pyo achieve a quality start, leading to a victory for NC over Soosung in the second round
For the first time in three games, baseball’s KT Wiz won a quality start (six or more innings pitched and three or fewer earned runs allowed) behind a strong performance from starter Ko Young-pyo and a wedge home run from Park Byung-ho.
KT came from behind to win 6-2 against the visiting NC Dinos of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at Changwon NC Park on Wednesday.
Riding a two-game winning streak, second-place KT narrowed the gap to 4.5 games over first-place LG Twins, who did not play on the day.
They also halted a three-game winning streak by the third-place NC Dinos, who have been on a scary upswing of late, and moved to within 1.5 games of them.
Ace Ko Young-pyo made a long-awaited return to form after giving up six runs in five innings and six runs in six innings in his previous two outings in September.
He threw 111 pitches over six innings, allowing nine hits and one walk while striking out seven and walking two to earn his 11th win of the season.
He also reached the 100-strikeout plateau for the season, becoming the 19th player in KBO history to record triple-digit strikeouts in five consecutive seasons.
KT took an early lead in the first inning when Ko Young-pyo hit back-to-back doubles to NC’s No. 1 hitter Son As-seob and No. 2 hitter Park Min-woo.
After Shin Bon-ki drew a leadoff walk in the third, Kim Sang-soo laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the tying run to second, and Kim Min-hyuk tied the game with a double to left-center.
Anthony Alford followed with an RBI double to left field to cut the deficit to 2-1.
Alford’s bat came alive once again as NC tied the game again in the fourth inning with an RBI single by Kim Hyung-jun.
With the score tied at 2-2 in the top of the seventh inning, Alford came to bat and hit the game-winning single off NC’s second pitcher, Song Myung-ki.
KT made it 5-2 in the eighth with a pair of RBI singles from pinch-hitters Choi Sung-ho and Kim Sang-soo.
With the 5-2 lead, KT’s Park Young-hyun, who pitched a scoreless eighth inning with two strikeouts, became the youngest player in history to reach the 30-hit plateau at 19 years, 11 months, and two days.
In the ninth inning, Byung-ho Park hit a one-run home run to make it 6-2.
It was Park’s 14th home run of the season and his second straight game with a home run.
NC, who could have moved into second place with a win over KT on the day, failed to capitalize on the opposing mound and took a knee, ending their three-game winning streak.
In Gwangju, the Lotte Giants kept their postseason hopes alive with a rain-shortened sixth inning victory over the KIA Tigers.
Starter Shim Jae-min pitched five and a third innings of one-run ball with two walks and two strikeouts, and Lotte held on for a three-run third inning to beat KIA 3-1 and snap a three-game losing streak.
The gap between seventh-place Lotte and fifth-place KIA, one spot below, is seven games.
The game, which started at 7:10 p.m., 40 minutes late due to rain, was accompanied by rain throughout.
It was Lotte who broke the balance between the two teams, who continued the pitching battle in the early innings despite the bad weather.
Lotte loaded the bases in the third inning on a walk by Han Dong-hee, a single to left by Lee Hak-joo, and an infield single by Hwang Sung-bin.
After catching a quick infield grounder hit by Yoon Dong-hee, KIA third baseman Choi Jeong-yong first stepped on third base to get one out and then spilled the ball while trying to throw home.
Although the out was recorded, it was a critical error that set the tone for Lotte.
KIA starter Yang Hyun-jong struck out Jeong Hoon with runners on first and second, but gave up a two-run double to Ahn Chi-hong.
Hindered by the aggressive pitching of Shim Jae-min, KIA could only manage a single run in the fifth inning on Lee Woo-sung’s RBI single with two outs.
Before the KIA offense could get going in the bottom of the sixth, the rain grew heavier, and after waiting 46 minutes from 9:10 p.m. to 9:56 p.m., Lotte ended the game early.
It was the third rain-cold game this season.
For Shim, it was his first win in 316 games since turning pro in 2015.
Shim, who went five innings on his own, earned his fourth complete game in the league this season.
With the loss, Kia, which used Yang Hyun-jong, slipped to fifth place, half a game behind SSG Landers, which did not play on the day.
SSG’s game against the Doosan Bears at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul was canceled due to rain.
The canceled 먹튀검증 games will be rescheduled at a later date.