Even if LG laughs, “the final match is made,” “a rematch with Pedi,” Cuevas Miracle’s scoreless + three home runs explosion KT, an 11-2 victory. Shock’s 22 scoreless innings
It’s Game 5 after all. The KT Wiz avenged two straight losses at home with two straight wins on the road, sending the series to a decisive Game 5.
KT won Game 4 of the playoffs against the NC Dinos at Changwon NC Park on Wednesday, 11-2, behind a batting outburst that included three home runs, 14 hits and 11 runs batted in, and a six-inning no-hitter from starter William Cuevas. With the series tied at 2-2, the teams will now travel to Suwon for the final battle for a spot in the Korean Series at 2 p.m. on May 5 at KT Wiz Park in Suwon.
KT set the tone for Game 5 with a hot start from its previously stymied bats. They pounded out nine hits, including two home runs, in the first inning to build a comfortable 8-0 lead through four innings and cruise to victory.
Cuevas redeemed himself from his Game 1 slump with a stunning “miracle pitch,” proving that he is a 100 percent pitcher. He didn’t allow a hit or a walk until the fifth inning, when he threw a no-hitter with just one error. With an 8-0 lead, he pitched into the sixth inning to set up the Korean Series, which would be won with a Game 5 victory. He pitched six innings, giving up just one hit, walking four and striking out three. He was named the Game 4 MVP and received a prize of 1 million won.
NC was forced to raise the white flag early on, as starter Song Myung-ki collapsed early on, second-stringer Lee Jae-hak was unable to keep KT’s bats in check, and the batters were unable to hit Cuevas at all. However, there were positive signs of promise from the prospects, as Lee Jun-ho, making his first appearance in the playoffs, struck out all four batters he faced, and Lee Yong-joon pitched a scoreless inning.
KT’s victory in Game 3 changed the mood a bit. Having survived the cliffhanger, KT looked a little more hopeful with their ace Cuevas on the mound, while NC had already played seven games, so the players were quite tired.
NC’s starting lineup was Son Asub (designated hitter), Park Min-woo (second base), Park Gun-woo (right field), Martin (center field), Kwon Hee-dong (left field), Oh Young-soo (first base), Seo Ho-cheol (third base), Kim Hyung-joon (catcher), and Kim Joo-won (shortstop). The batting order remains unchanged, but Son As-seob is back in the designated hitter spot and Park Gun-woo is in right field. Park has been struggling to play defense due to a bad knee and a recent cold. “I think he’s feeling a little better,” said NC manager Kang Myung-ho, explaining why Park is playing right field again.
After a tremendous batting performance in the wild-card decider and semifinals, NC has been struggling lately, with five hits and three runs in Game 2 and five hits and no runs in Game 3. “We’re seven games into the postseason, but we’ve actually been battling for third place since early October, so you could say we’ve been in the postseason since then,” Kang said. “It’s a time when the batting cycle goes down. When the hitting goes down, the pitching has to keep us in games. Yesterday’s streak was broken, so if we give a little more strength at the plate today, we can ride the upswing again in the future,” he said, showing faith in his players.토토사이트
William Cuevas is the starter for Game 4. He was pulled in the fourth inning of Game 1. He threw 75 pitches. Kang had expected Cuevas to pitch in Game 4. “When he went down early in Game 1, I had some idea that he was going to come out in Game 4,” Kang said. “I thought it was the right time for him to come in,” Kang said, adding, “We have good pitchers behind Cuevas, and we’re going to prepare for exclusions.
For the first time, KT changed its starting lineup. Park Kyung-soo, the second baseman, was removed and Oh Yoon-seok came in. Kim Sang-soo (shortstop), Hwang Jae-gyun (third baseman), Alford (left fielder), Park Byung-ho (first baseman), Jang Sung-woo (catcher), Moon Sang-chul (designated hitter), Oh Yoon-seok (second baseman), Bae Jeong-dae (center fielder), and Cho Yong-ho (right fielder) comprised the starting lineup. Oh Yoon-seok came in and batted seventh, and Cho Yong-ho, who was batting seventh, dropped to ninth.
Park showed off his defensive prowess in the bottom of the seventh inning when he made a diving catch of Martin’s leadoff hit and threw to first base for the out. However, the aftermath of the catch left him with a stiff adductor muscle, making it difficult for him to start. However, he was able to play as a pinch-hitter in the second half of the game.
“Oh Yoon-seok has a good batting average against Song Myung-ki,” said Lee Kang-cheol, looking forward to the first-time starter’s batting. Park is a good defender, but he was hitless in seven at-bats until Game 3. Oh went 1-for-4 against Song this year, compared to 3-for-3 last year.
Lee hopes that the batting will improve. “It’s been four games now. I think the batting will come around a little bit,” Lee said, “and if it does, we’ll be able to play with a little bit of leeway.” Getting an early lead is important. “If we get a lead, we can put our bullpen in,” Lee said. Even if the opponent is up 2-1, if we lose the lead, we can’t help but be dragged down,” Lee said.
Moon Sang-chul, who has been playing as the designated hitter in place of the injured Kang Baek-ho, has been doing his part, hitting home runs in the first and third games. However, his bunts in the second and third games left a lot to be desired. In the ninth inning with runners on first and third with the score 2-3, Moon tried a squeeze bunt on a ball count of 1S, but it was fouled off and he struck out. In Game 3, in the top of the fourth inning with a 2-0 lead, he attempted a sacrifice bunt on four pitches in a 2B1S count and fouled off another pitch. He then struck out again. On his bunt attempt in the third, Lee said, “I was thinking about bunting at the time, but the next batter in the lineup was hitting well, so I decided to bunt because I thought it would be a shame if he got a hit. I thought it would be comfortable for starter Ko Young-pyo to throw if we scored one more run and made it 3-0.” “If a similar situation came up later in the game today, I would send out a substitute to wait for the bunt,” he said.
Song Myung-ki’s start was on schedule. He started the second game of the semifinals against SSG and gave up two runs on two hits (one home run), three walks, and four strikeouts in three innings. But just like Tanner’s six-inning, two-run outing in Game 2, there’s no reason to believe that Song won’t be able to do the same. The jury is still out.
In 35 total appearances on the mound this season, including 17 starts, Song is 4-9 with a 4.83 ERA. In 17 starts, he is 3-7 with a 4.81 ERA. Against KT, he appeared in three games with one loss and a 4.76 ERA. He made two starts. On July 1 in Suwon, he gave up three runs on four hits (one home run), two walks, and two strikeouts in 4⅓ innings as the team lost 6-7. On August 12, he made another start in Suwon, this time tossing 6⅔ innings of quality ball, allowing two runs on three hits and two walks with six strikeouts. He came out of the game with a 3-2 lead and was the winning pitcher, but unfortunately lost the game 3-4.
KT is hoping that Cuevas will pitch well enough in Game 4 after his poor showing in Game 1. Everyone seems to be hoping for a repeat of the miracle from two years ago.
Looking ahead to Game 3, Lee Kang-cheol said, “Of course, we’re ready to start Game 4 and 5,” but added, “The problem is that we have to win today to play that card. If we win today, we can go to the fourth game.” When I asked him if he could reveal the starting lineup for Game 4, he said, “We have to win Game 3 before I can tell you.”
After winning Game 3, Lee announced Cuevas in the interview room. “I didn’t think about it. After Game 1, I told him to get ready for Game 4 because he had the right number of pitches. “I didn’t think we were going to lose Game 2, so I started preparing Cuevas from then on. Cuevas was OK right away,” he said. “I thought that if we went to game four, Cuevas would come out and we would have an advantage,” he continued.
Lee said he didn’t put any restrictions on Cuevas heading into Game 4. Even though Cuevas was coming in on three days’ rest after throwing 75 pitches, Lee said, “I didn’t put a pitch count limit on him. When asked what he would do if Cuevas struggled, Lee said, “We have a lot of pitchers we can use depending on the situation,” but he also showed faith in Cuevas, saying, “I think Cuevas is better, and I hope he can pitch until the fifth inning.”
KT struck first, this time in the first scoring opportunity. In the top of the first inning, Kim Sang-soo led off with a walk and then stole second base. The throw was a little late and would have been an out if it had been accurate, but Kim Hyung-joon’s throw was one-bounced and went off the glove of the waiting second baseman Park Min-woo. Kim Joo-won, who was covering behind, couldn’t catch it and it rolled toward center field, allowing Kim to reach third. With the bases loaded, KT took the lead in the bottom of the first when Alford drew a walk to put runners on first and third and Park Byung-ho singled to right field. With runners on first and third, No. 5 Jang Jang-woo hit a fly ball to center field. It was a shallow fly, making it difficult for Alford to tag up. But Alford raced home as soon as the center fielder caught the ball, and he touched first as Martin’s throw to home was slightly behind him. 2-0.
In the bottom of the first inning, NC also had a chance. Son As-seop hit a ball that rolled toward the third baseman but hit the glove of Hwang Jae-gyun at third and went sideways. An error by the third baseman. It was an unpleasant start for Cuevas, who had a bad memory of Hwang Jae-gyun’s error in Game 1 that led to a run.
But today, Cuevas was different. He calmly faced the NC batters. He got Park Min-woo at second on a grounder to third, and Park Gun-woo at third on a fly to shortstop. In the fourth, Martin struck out three batters with a changeup.
In the top of the second, KT got a run right back. Oh Yoon-seok, who started in the leadoff spot in place of Park, led off with an infield single to shortstop. NC State shortstop Kim Joo-won made a good throw to deep center field, and Oh Yoon-seok slid in. The first base umpire narrowly called the out, but the video review overturned it as a save. No. 8 Bae Jae-dae singled to right to put runners on first and second. No. 9 Choi Soo-ho laid down a sacrifice bunt in front of the pitcher to put runners on first and second and third. The first base umpire initially declared a save, but after video review, it was ruled an out. That was the end of Song Myung-ki’s pitching. Manager Kang Myung-hwa quickly brought up the second pitcher, Lee Jae-hak.
However, Lee Jae-hak threw a wild pitch when Kim Sang-soo batted first, allowing KT to easily score another run. With runners on first and third after Kim Sang-soo drew a walk, Hwang Jae-gyun doubled down the left field line to score one more run. With runners on first and third, Alford flied out to right field and Park Byung-ho struck out to end the threat.
They added two more runs in the third inning. This time, he stunned the NC defense with an agile baserunning play. After Jang Jang-woo led off with a single, Moon Sang-chul led off with a sacrifice bunt in front of the pitcher and Oh Yoon-seok reached on a fielder’s choice. The ball hit to center fell between the center fielder and the second baseman. Oh Yoon-seok ran to second base. The shortstop and second baseman went to catch the ball, leaving second base empty, but first baseman Oh Young-soo, who was supposed to cover second base, was waiting for the replay between second base and the mound in case the second baseman dared to run home. Seeing that the bases were empty, Oh Yoon-seok quickly ran to second base to put runners on first and third, and the No. 8 hit an RBI double to center field to make it 6-0.
In the top of the fourth inning, KT scored two runs again. This time with two more cannons. No. 2 Hwang Jae-gyun hit Lee Jae-hak’s main weapon, a changeup, over the left field fence, and two batters later, No. 5 Jang Jang-woo pulled a 136-kilometer fastball over the left field fence again. Lee Jun-ho came on as the third pitcher and struck out Moon Sang-chul in the sixth to end the top of the fourth inning.
While KT was excitedly scoring runs, Cuevas turned NC into a vegetable. After reaching on an error by Son in the first inning, he retired 15 consecutive batters. The no-hitter continued until the fifth inning. Threw 57 pitches by the fifth inning. If the team wins Game 5 and advances to the Korean Series, it’s at the point where they might consider making a change to pitch Game 1 on three days’ rest or Game 2 on four days’ rest.
Many expected a pitching change in the sixth inning, but Cuevas pitched again in the bottom of the sixth. Park Se-hyuk, who hadn’t batted in a while, struck out, and Kim Joo-won, number nine, grounded out to first base. It looked like the sixth inning would end with another hitless inning, but the King of Hitting prevented Cuevas from getting a no-hitter. He lined a 143-kilometer cutter to center field. NC’s first hit came in its 19th at-bat. However, Park Min-woo was retired on a grounder to shortstop, ending NC’s 21-inning scoreless streak from the fourth inning of the second game to the sixth inning of the fourth game.
KT added a run in the top of the seventh against NC’s Lee Yong-jun. One out later, pinch-hitter Kim Min-hyuk walked and Oh Yoon-seok singled to left. With the bases loaded, Choi Sung-ho singled to center field to score one run, and Kim Sang-soo followed with a single to center field to make it 10-0.
KT finally activated its bullpen in the seventh inning. With a 10-run lead, reliever Son Dong-hyun was brought in to pitch, a move that showed Lee Kang-cheol’s intention of not taking this game lightly. He got Park Gun-woo to fly out to center, Kim Sung-wook to ground out to second, and Kwon Hee-dong to fly out to right for a triple play. Seven pitches were enough to handle NC’s center fielder.
Alford joined in on KT’s festivities. In the top of the eighth, he finally hit a home run, a solo shot over the left field fence off Lee Yoo-chun. With the count at 3B, he lined a four-pitch fastball from Yoo to the middle of the plate for a 142-kilometer home run. 11-0. It was a completely different KT batting lineup from the one that had struggled to score runs the day before.
NC also broke the scoreless streak in the eighth inning. When KT took the lead, they poured on the hits as if they had been waiting. No. 6 Oh Young-soo doubled down the left field line, Seo Ho-cheol singled to left to put runners on first and third, and Park Se-hyuk singled to left to score the first run of the day. The scoreless 22nd inning ended. Kim Han-byul flied out to center field, but Son As-seob singled to left to score a run. Lee Sang-dong came on and got Park Min-woo to fly out to left field and Lee Jae-hwan to strike out to end NC’s revitalized bats.
KT brought in Uhm Sang-baek in the bottom of the ninth. After struggling with his velocity in Game 1, Uhm gave up a walk to Kim Sung-wook, but retired the next three batters to end the game. His fastball reached a maximum velocity of 146 kilometers.
KT has been encouraged by the batting revival. Kim Sang-soo went 1-for-3 with a home run and an RBI, Hwang Jae-gyun went 2-for-5 with a home run and two RBIs, and Alford, who was previously hitless, went 1-for-5 with a home run. Park Byung-ho also went 2-for-5 with a home run and an RBI, and Jang Jang-woo went 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs as the top of the order combined for seven RBIs on three home runs and nine hits.
In addition, Oh Yoon-seok, who came in for Park Kyung-soo, showed off his hustle and went 3-for-5 with a home run, while Choi Jae-dae went 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBIs. The bottom of the order was no slouch either.
The improved batting was a big boost for KT, as NC’s Game 5 starter was expected to be Pedi, who gave up one run in six innings in Game 1.
NC’s batting lineup is visibly sagging, which is a concern. KT is expected to start Game 5 with Wes Benjamin, who started Game 2. Although Park Gun-woo hit a home run, Benjamin gave up three runs on four hits in five innings.
After the game, NC head coach Kang Myung-ho did not confirm Pedi as the starter for Game 5. “Right now, Pedi’s condition hasn’t fully recovered to 100%,” Kang said, “I’m thinking about it a bit. Shin Min-hyuk is not bad either. I’ll check his condition a little more tomorrow morning and decide.”
Regarding the decision to replace Martin with Kim Sung-wook in the fifth inning, he said, “I think Martin’s fatigue level is high, and he didn’t look very good at the plate against the pitcher, so I thought it was necessary to give him a break. We’ll see tomorrow and decide whether to start him or use a new player.” The batting order could change in Game 5.
For NC, it’s important for players to recover from fatigue. “The fifth game could be the last game of the season, so we will forget about the difficulties for a while and think of it as the last game and do our best,” Kang said. As for Park Se-hyuk, who hit a run-scoring single to break a 22-inning scoreless streak, Kang said, “I think he found confidence in the way he sat as a catcher and how he handled himself at the plate. I think he will do his best if he is given a task. I want to encourage him.”
KT manager Lee Kang-cheol, whose team came back from the brink with two straight wins after two straight losses, said, “I wanted the bats to break out, but we took the lead in the first inning and played a comfortable game for the playoffs. Cuevas threw good pitches as we thought he would. He pitched so well that we were able to win the game,” he said of his ace.
When asked what was different about Cuevas in Game 1 and Game 4, Lee said, “He was definitely lighter today. The angle on my slider was bigger and I was able to get good swings on it. In Game 1, he was a little too strong and the slider was getting pushed in,” Lee said of the difference.
When asked if he thought about making a change in the sixth inning because the score was 8-0 after five innings, he said, “There’s no tomorrow, but I don’t think so. We thought we’d be grateful for six innings because we had a lot of guys in the middle,” he said, adding, “Cuevas wanted to pitch more, but he stopped.” “I used Son Dong-hyun in the seventh to be sure, and then I thought I’d take a look at Uhm Sang-baek at the end. (Uhm) seemed to be more stable and better,” Lee said.
When asked about his lineup for Game 5, Lee said, “I don’t have to tell you today, do I?” “We’ll see how he feels,” he said. The implication is that Benjamin’s status will be checked. This is because Benjamin had elbow pain at the end of the season.