‘Number One’ Park Chan-ho snaps KT’s three-game winning streak

The KBO’s KIA proved to be KT’s nemesis once again. The team struggled against their top starter, Ko Young-pyo, but turned the game around with a fearsome batting performance late in the game.

KIA won the game 7-3 on April 24 at 텍사스홀덤 KT Wiz Park in Suwon. They are now 7-2 against KT this season.

KIA, which leads the league in OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) in August, was held in check by KT ace Ko Young-pyo on the day, but got the tying and winning runs from KT’s strong bullpen of Park Young-hyun and Kim Jae-yoon.

KIA is the only team KT currently trails in the head-to-head standings. Even the league’s ace, Ko Young-pyo, is winless against KIA. The “Innings Eater” has faced KIA twice this year, but only lasted nine innings, giving up six runs (five earned) and taking two losses.

After being removed from the roster for rest after his start against the NC on the 12th, Ko returned to the mound for the first time in 11 days. He pitched seven innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on six hits and two walks for his 12th straight quality start and 18th overall.

Despite the two runs off of Ko, Kia hung on. Panoni gave up a two-run homer to Oh Yoon-seok in the bottom of the fifth, and Jang Hyun-sik, who replaced him in the sixth, singled in Jang Jang-woo to cut the deficit to 2-3. Ko Young-pyo went to the mound looking for his first win against KIA this season.

However, as soon as he left the game, KIA rallied to tie the game against bullpen man Park Young-hyun. After the first inning, Park Chan-ho drew a walk and stole second base, and with two outs, Choi Hyung-woo hit an RBI single to right-center field to tie the game at 3-3.

Despite the tie, KT brought in closer Kim Jae-yoon in the top of the ninth for the win. KIA relied on Kim, who hadn’t allowed a run in 10 innings in nine games in August.

After Kim Tae-gun led off the inning with a single and moved to second on pinch-hitter Hong Jong-pyo’s infield grounder, Kim Jae-yoon sent No. 9 Kim Do-young on an automatic double play to put runners on first and second with Choi Won-jun at the plate. However, with two outs and two on, No. 2 Park Chan-ho singled to right to bring in both runners and make it 5-3. Na Sung-beom followed with a two-run triple to drive in the winning run. KIA snapped a two-game losing streak, while KT ended a three-game winning streak. Park Chan-ho led the way with four hits, two doubles, three runs scored and the game-winning RBI.

In Jamsil, leader LG won 3-1. LG starter Casey Kelly pitched six shutout innings to earn his eighth win of the season. In Incheon, SSG defeated NC 7-4 to move within half a game of second-place KT. SSG starter Kirk McCarty gave up four runs on three home runs in 7.1 innings, but received run support, including back-to-back RBI singles by Choi Jung and Choi Ju-hwan in the bottom of the first inning, to pick up his eighth win of the season, his first in two months since June 22 against Doosan.