The defending champion Samsung Lions beat the LG Twins 9-3 Monday, clinching their third consecutive berth in the championship round of South Korea’s top baseball league.
The victory brought the Lions’ record to 76 wins, 50 losses and two ties, with five games left in the 133-game season, and gave them a five-game cushion over the second-place SK Wyverns. Also on Monday, the Wyverns clinched second place with a 4-1 win over the Hanwha Eagles.
In the eight-team Korean Baseball Organization, the first-place club from the regular season receives a bye to the Korean Series. The third- and fourth-place teams face off in the best-of-five first round series, and the winner goes on to meet the No. 2 regular season team in the next round, also best-of-five.
Samsung’s Lee Seung-yeop is batting .307 with 21 home runs and 85 RBIs. (Yonhap News)
The Korean Series is a best-of-seven affair.
The Lions, based in Daegu, about 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul, also finished first in the regular season last year and defeated the SK Wyverns in the Korean Series.
In 2010, the Lions were second in the regular season and edged the Doosan Bears in the second round to reach the Korean Series, where the Wyverns then swept the Lions in four games. The Lions have won KBO championships in 1985, 2002, 2005 and 2006.
This season, the Lions welcomed back slugger Lee Seung-yeop, the face of the franchise who’d left Samsung to play in Japan from 2004 to 2011.
The five-time MVP in the KBO has responded with 21 home runs, 85 RBIs and a .307 batting average, all second on the team.
Under second-year manager Ryu Joong-il, the Lions had a slow start and were in seventh place as recently as May 29. (Yonhap News)