Sports

(2nd LD) Twins rally to beat Wiz, even Korean Series at 1-1

SEOUL, The LG Twins erased a 4-0 deficit to defeat the KT Wiz 5-4 in Game 2 of the Korean Series on Wednesday, evening up the best-of-seven showdown at one game apiece.

Park Dong-won blasted a go-ahead two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to complete the stunning comeback at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul. Seven relievers held the Wiz scoreless over the final eight frames after starter Choi Won-tae served up four in the opening inning.

The best-of-seven series now shifts to the Wiz's home, KT Wiz Park in Suwon, south of Seoul, for the next two games. Game 3 is 6:30 p.m. Friday, followed by Game 4 at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Park Dong-won of the LG Twins celebrates after hitting a two-run home run against the KT Wiz during the bottom of the eighth inning of Game 2 of the Korean Series at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul on Nov. 8, 2023.

For the second straight game, the Wiz scored first in the top of the first inning, and they did so in stunning fashion.

Twins starter Choi couldn't locate the strike zone out of the gate, giving up two walks and a single against his first three batters.

With the bases loaded, Choi got cleanup Park Byung-ho to hit a soft grounder to third baseman Moon Bo-gyeong, who forced out lead runner Kim Sang-su at home.

But Choi couldn't get over the next hump, as Jang Sung-woo lined a double to left field to cash in two runs.

And just like that, Choi's day was done, after he made only 20 pitches, 12 of them balls.

Swingman Yi Jung-yong took over, but Bae Jung-dae promptly doubled the Wiz's lead to 4-0 with a two-run single to left-center that silenced the heavily pro-Twins crowd at Jamsil.

Choi was charged with four runs in 1/3 of an inning on two hits and two walks. Choi tied four other pitchers for the shortest start in Korean Series history.

Oh Ji-hwan of the LG Twins celebrates his solo home run against the KT Wiz during the bottom of the sixth inning of Game 2 of the Korean Series at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul on Nov. 8, 2023.

The Twins tried to rally in the bottom first by putting runners at corners with two outs, before Oh Ji-hwan's grounder to first ended that threat.

They finally broke through in the bottom third, when cleanup Austin Dean delivered a two-out single to cut the deficit to 4-1.

The Wiz failed to score after loading the bases with one out in the top fourth, and couldn't cash in after putting two runners aboard in the top fifth.

Those missed opportunities left the door open for the Twins, and Twins captain Oh Ji-hwan breathed some life into his team with a solo home run off Cuevas with one out in the bottom sixth, cutting the deficit to 4-2.

The Twins put on even more pressure in the bottom seventh. With two outs, Park Hae-min drew a walk from reliever Son Dong-hyun, Then facing new pitcher Park Yeong-hyun, Kim Hyun-soo smoked a double down the right field line to bring home Park Hae-min and make it a 4-3 game.

Austin Dean of the LG Twins hits an RBI single against the KT Wiz during the bottom of the third inning of Game 2 of the Korean Series at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul on Nov. 8, 2023.

Then in the eighth inning, Park Dong-won put the finishing touch on the drama. Oh drew a leadoff walk and was sacrificed over to second. Park then wasted no time, driving a first-pitch changeup from Park Yeong-hyun over the left-field wall to put the Twins ahead 5-4.

Closer Go Woo-suk, who'd allowed a go-ahead run in the ninth inning of Tuesday's 3-2 loss, pitched a perfect ninth this time to lock down his team's one-run victory.

LG Twins closer Go Woo-suk (R) and catcher Park Dong-won celebrate after closing out the 5-4 win over the KT Wiz in Game 2 of the Korean Series at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul on Nov. 8, 2023.

"After losing the first game, this was a huge win for us. It should give us confidence going forward," Twins manager Youm Kyoung-youb said. "Our seven relievers all pitched great today, and we will have a lot of options for the rest of the series."

Youm said he had felt terrible Tuesday night that the Twins couldn't come through with a win before a sellout crowd of 23,750, almost all of them Twins fans. Game 2 sold out again and Youm said he was happy to have sent fans back home with a smile on their faces.

"Our guys never gave up," Youm said. "Pitchers and hitters all came together to deliver this win to our fans."

Park Dong-won of the LG Twins (C) smiles after the Twins' 5-4 win over the KT Wiz in Game 2 of the Korean Series at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul on Nov. 8, 2023.

The Wiz had three hits in the first, but just five more the rest of the way.

"We made things difficult for ourselves because we couldn't tack on anything after those four early runs," Wiz manager Lee Kang-chul said. "I will think about shuffling the lineup for the next game. Their relievers all pitched well today."

Source: Yonhap News Agency