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Samsung beats SK in baseball's Korean Series opener

DAEGU -- The Samsung Lions on Tuesday defeated the SK Wyverns 2-0 in the opening game of the Korean Series, the championship round in South Korea's top professional baseball league.

At the Lions' home of Daegu Stadium, Shin Myung-chul hit a two-run double in the fourth for Samsung and the vaunted bullpen stifled the Wyverns' offense, as the battle for supremacy in the Korea Baseball Organization got underway.

The teams combined for just three hits through the first three innings. But in the bottom of the fourth, after Choi Hyung-woo hit a double and Kang Bong-gyu was hit by a pitch, Shin drove in both with a towering two-out double to left.

Those two runs proved to be all the Lions needed. The Lions topped the regular season with the bullpen earned run average of 2.44, and relief pitchers lived up to their reputation Tuesday.

After starter Doug Mathis pitched four shutout innings and gave up four hits, four relievers held the SK lineup to just one hit over the next five innings.

Cha Woo-chan, a one-time starter who relieved Mathis Tuesday, was credited with the win after striking out five in three perfect innings. Overall, Samsung struck out 12 SK batters.

The Wyverns put their leadoff man on base in the first, second and fourth innings but failed to bring any of them home.

In the past 27 Korean Series, the team that won the first game went on to win the title 22 times.

This is the second straight Korean Series showdown between these two teams. Last year, the Wyverns swept the Lions in four games to capture their third title in four seasons.

Samsung's cleanup Choi Hyung-woo hit two doubles. Park Jung-kwon, SK's No. 4 hitter and last year's Korean Series most valuable player went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.

The second game is back at Daegu Stadium Wednesday at 6 p.m.

Left-hander Jang Won-sam will start for the Lions and the Wyverns will send right-hander Yoon Hee-sang to the mound. (Yonhap News)