The Samsung Lions defeated the Doosan Bears 7-5 in Game 5 of the Korean Series on Tuesday, staying alive in the best-of-seven championship final for the Korea Baseball Organization.
On the road at Seoul's Jamsil Stadium, the Lions' Park Han-yi hit a tie-breaking two-run single in the top eighth after they blew an early 3-0 lead, as the two-time defending champion staved off elimination. The Bears still lead the Korean Series 3-2.
The Lions wielded hot bats in windy and chilly conditions with 11 hits, including two home runs. Over the first four games of the series, the Lions had been hitting just .175, including a meager 2-for-34 with men in scoring position.
By scoring seven runs on Tuesday, the Lions also matched the total number of runs they'd scored in the four previous games.
Samsung Lions players celebrate after winning the Korean Series Game 5 at the Jamsil Stadium in Seoul, Tuesday. (Yonhap News)
The Korean Series will return to the Lions' home, Daegu Stadium, for Game 6 on Thursday, and if necessary, Game 7 on Friday. Both games are scheduled to start at 6 p.m. The Lions lost the first two games of the series at home last week.
The Lions are attempting to become the first club to win three straight pennants and the Korean Series, and the first team to overcome a 3-1 deficit to capture the Korean Series.
The Bears, seeking their first championship since 2001, are trying to become the first No. 4 seed to win the Korean Series.
The start of the game was delayed by 35 minutes after heavy rain began falling at around 5 p.m., about an hour before the scheduled start. The rain stopped some 40 minutes later, and the grounds crew worked the field for almost an hour to get it ready.
Earlier rains never dampened the Lions' offense. They scored three runs on five hits off Doosan starter Noh Kyung-eun, after getting four hits in all of Game 4 on Monday.
With two outs in the opening frame, Chae Tae-in hit a solo home run over the left field. Then the Lions had four straight singles off the helpless Bears right-hander, including an RBI hit each by Park Seok-min and Kim Tae-wan.
After the Bears got a run back in the second on Choi Jun-seok's solo home run, Choi Hyung-woo responded with a solo shot of his own for the Lions in the top third, giving his team a 4-1 cushion.
The Bears tied the game in a hurry in the bottom third. With two men on board, Choi Jun-seok came through with an RBI single. Oh Jae-il followed up with a two-run double to deep left center that knotted the score at 4-4 and chased Samsung starter Yoon Sung-hwan.
This was Yoon's second straight subpar outing in this Korean Series. He started Game 1 but gave up six earned runs in 4 1/3 innings to take the loss. Yoon's outing was even shorter on Tuesday, as he threw just 2 1/3 innings and allowed four earned runs on seven hits.
Park Seok-min put the Lions back up by one with a single in the top fifth, but the Bears immediately drew even in the bottom fifth, on Choi Jun-seok's second solo home run of the night that made it a 5-5 game.
The teams traded zeroes until the top eighth. Two straight singles and a sacrifice bunt put runners at second and third for the Lions, and Park Han-yi, who had gone 1-for-14 in the Korean Series up to that point, delivered a single to right to drive in both runners.
Park was moved up in the order from seventh to second, as manager Ryu Joong-il juggled his struggling lineup for the win-or-go-home game.
Kim Hyun-soo led off the bottom eighth with a single, but Choi Jun-seok couldn't deliver a clutch hit this time, instead grounding into a double play.
Rick van den Hurk, normally a starter for Samsung, picked up the win thanks to two shutout innings in relief. Oh Seung-hwan picked up his league-record 12th career postseason save with a scoreless ninth.
Yun Myung-jun took the loss for the Bears after allowing an earned run in 1 1/3 innings.
Park Han-yi was the late-inning hero for the Lions, but Choi Hyung-woo also enjoyed a fine day at the plate, going 3-for-5 with a home run and an RBI. Park Seok-min was 2-for-2 with three walks and drove in two runs.
Choi Jun-seok went 3-for-4 with two home runs, two RBIs and three runs scored in the losing cause. (Yonhap News)