An instinctive backhand catch + Lee Jeong-hoo’s foul defense + the roar of a wedge double… Ahn Kwon-soo was the hero of the game for the full house

It was a performance that made Lotte Giants manager Larry Sutton (53) forget that Ahn Kwon-soo (30) had a sore elbow that needed to be checked daily before the game. Ahn Kwon-soo’s one-man show at the plate helped Lotte win its third straight game.메이저놀이터

Lotte defeated the Kiwoom Heroes 6-5 in a regular-season road game of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League on Sunday at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul. With their third straight win, Lotte improved to 26-15 and closed the gap on the leaders LG Twins to one game. Meanwhile, Kiwoom, which lost its fourth straight game, remained in eighth place with 19 wins and 28 losses.

The game was hotly anticipated, with all 16,000 seats sold out 20 minutes before kickoff. It was the third sellout of the season after the opening game, Children’s Day. Ahn Kwon-soo was the center of attention for this sold-out crowd. After two walks to Lee Won-seok and Lee Jung-hoo, Ahn Kwon-soo hit a game-winning double to drive in the winning run.

LOTTE starter Charlie Barnes pitched six innings of three-hit ball with one walk and five strikeouts to earn his third quality start (six or more innings and three or fewer earned runs) and third win of the season, wiping the slate clean from his previous outing (four runs in five innings against SSG). The offense exploded for 14 hits, long and short, without a home run. Park Seung-wook, Noh Jin-hyuk, Yoo Kang-nam, and Ahn Kwon-soo had multi-hit games, and the bottom of the order was especially crucial in the six-run seventh inning as they combined for seven hits and three RBIs.

Kiwoom starter Choi Won-tae continued his streak of quality starts with six innings of three-hit ball, two walks and six strikeouts. The offense, which totaled just eight hits, had to settle for a big inning in the ninth to end its scoreless streak at 26 innings.
Kiwoom-Lotte starting lineup on May 27

Kiwoom’s Choi Won-tae (left) and Lotte’s Charlie Barnes./Photo=OSEN

Lotte’s lineup was Kim Min-seok (center field), Park Seung-wook (second base), Jeon Jun-woo (designated hitter), Ahn Chi-hong (first base), Go Seung-min (right field), Noh Jin-hyuk (shortstop), Han Dong-hee (third base), Yoo Kang-nam (catcher), and Ahn Kwon-soo (left field). The starter was Charlie Barnes.

Ahn Kwon-soo, who had been batting second the previous day, dropped to ninth and was replaced by Park Seung-wook, who is batting .313 in May. Ahn’s batting pace has slowed down recently due to elbow pain. Lotte manager Larry Sutton said, “Ahn Kwon-soo is having some elbow pain, so we’re checking on him every day. However, he continues to show very good defense. He’s also doing a good job on the bases. He’s a smart player,” he said.

Kiwoom’s lineup consisted of Kim Jun-wan (left fielder), Kim Hui-jip (designated hitter), Lee Jung-hoo (center fielder), Kim Hye-sung (second baseman), Edison Russell (shortstop), Kim Tae-jin (third baseman), Lee Won-seok (first baseman), Lee Ji-young (catcher), and Lee Hyung-jong (right fielder). Choi Won-tae is the starter.

Kim Hui-jip, who has been hitting well in the lower order lately, was placed in the second spot in the batting order. Kiwoom coach Hong Won-ki said, “Batting second doesn’t mean much at this point. We need to make a breakthrough by somehow establishing a batting link,” but also said, “Kim Hwijip was the one who kept hitting well in the bottom of the order, so we bumped him up.”
Ahn Kwon-soo breaks 26 consecutive scoreless innings in a pitcher’s duel at Lake Bishoae

Lotte’s Ahn Kwon-soo slides and makes a backhand catch of Kiwoom’s Lee Won-seok’s hit in the second inning against Gochuk Kiwoom on Sunday.

Kiwoom’s Lee Won-seok reacts after being thrown out at the plate by Lotte’s Ahn Kwon-soo in the second inning against Gocheok Lotte on Sunday.

Lotte’s Ahn Kwon-soo catches Lee Jung-hoo’s fly ball over the left field foul line and into the wall in the sixth inning against Kiwoom on Sunday.

Kiwoom’s Lee Jung-hoo turns around in disappointment after his hit from first base in the seventh inning against Lotte in Gocheok on Sunday turned into a foul fly when it was blocked by Lotte left fielder Ahn Kwon-soo.

After the previous day’s quality starts (six or more innings and three or fewer earned runs) by both teams’ starting pitchers, today’s game was a pitcher’s duel. Lotte Barnes and Kiwoom Choi Won-tae were both scoreless through the fifth inning to keep the score at 0-0.

The biggest threat of the night came in the top of the fourth inning. Park Seung-wook led off with a single to right and quickly stole second base. Choi Won-tae was hit by a pitch to move him to third, and Ko Seung-min walked to put runners on second and third. However, after a visit to the mound by the coaching staff, Choi Won-tae got Noh Jin-hyuk to ground out to end the inning without a run.

On the other hand, the Kiwoom bats, which hadn’t scored since the ninth inning of the 24th game against Suwon KT, went through another scoreless inning. Kim Hwijip (9 pitches) in the first inning and Russell (8 pitches) in the second inning persevered, but they were unable to capitalize. In particular, Lotte left fielder Ahn Kwon-soo’s hobnobbing show epitomized Kiwoom’s recent struggles. In the second inning, Ahn Kwon-soo instinctively caught Lee Won-seok’s hit to the left field fence. The ball dropped suddenly in front of him, making it difficult to catch, but he made a split-second backhand catch. Then, in the sixth inning, he caught Lee Jung-hoo’s foul ball with a hustle play that didn’t sacrifice his body, sending Lotte’s away fans gathered at third base into a frenzy.
Lotte’s relentless batting lineup, which defeated even a key left-hander in Kiwoom, emerged as the protagonist.

Lotte’s Yoo Kang-nam hits a double to right-center field with runners on first and second in the top of the seventh inning against Gocheok Kiwoom on Nov. 27.

Lotte’s Ahn Kwon-soo hits a two-run double to left center with runners on first and second in the top of the seventh inning against Gocheok Kiwoom on Sunday.

After combining for six of the team’s nine hits the previous day, Lotte’s bottom of the order exploded for a big inning in the seventh. Noh Jin-hyuk led off with an infield single against left-hander Kim Jae-woong, who replaced Choi Won-tae. A grounder to third base that Kim Jae-woong couldn’t catch at first proved to be the difference.

Han Dong-hee kept the momentum going with a single to left, and Yoo Kang-nam immediately took advantage of Kim Jae-woong’s first pitch and hit a double to right-center field to break the 0-0 tie. Yoo Kang-nam, who had been thrown out at second base the day before for being slow on his feet, roared from second base as if to make up for it.

Ahn Kwon-soo, who was the unsung hero of the game due to two rainouts, ended the game with a bang at the plate. With runners on first and second and one out, he lined a fastball from Kim Jae-woong just outside the zone and smashed a two-run shot over the shortstop’s head. Ahn Kwon-soo cheered from first base and the Lotte away fans applauded from the third base stands.

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