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Samsung Lions beat SK Wyverns to start Korean Series

Samsung Lions players congratulate each other after beating SK Wyverns 3-1 in the first game of the Korean Series at Daegu Baseball Stadium on Wednesday. Yonhap News
Samsung Lions players congratulate each other after beating SK Wyverns 3-1 in the first game of the Korean Series at Daegu Baseball Stadium on Wednesday. Yonhap News

The Samsung Lions defeated the SK Wyverns 3-1 on Wednesday in the opening game of the South Korean professional baseball final.

At Daegu Baseball Stadium, slugger Lee Seung-yeop belted a two-run home run and the Lions‘ bullpen slammed the door shut on the Wyverns to start the best-of-seven Korean Series in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO).

In 29 previous Korean Series, the team that won the first game went on to capture the title 23 times. The opening game of the 1982 Korean Series ended in a tie.

The Lions are the defending champions and they’re going after their sixth title overall. The Wyverns are gunning for their fourth title. Their matchup marks the first time in the league history that the same two teams have met in three Korean Series in a row.

The Lions took the lead in the bottom first on Lee‘s two-run shot, his 13th career playoff long ball that tied him with ex-Doosan Bears’ slugger Tyrone Woods for the all-time lead.

This is Lee‘s first Korean Series in 10 years. The five-time league MVP, who made his professional debut with Samsung in 1995, played in Japan from 2004 to 2011 before rejoining the Lions this year.

After SK got to within one in the fourth with Lee Ho-joon’s single, the Lions added an insurance run in the bottom seventh.

Speedy pinch runner Kang Myung-goo scored from second on Bae Young-seob‘s infield single up the middle. When second baseman Jeong Keun-woo caught the bouncing ball, Kang overran the third base and ran into his third base coach. But Kang took off for home as Jeong threw to third, and beat third baseman Choi Jeong’s throw home with a head-first slide.

Samsung‘s starter Yoon Sung-hwan earned the victory with 5 1/3 solid innings, giving up four hits and a run. Closer Oh Seung-whan, who led the KBO with 37 saves in the regular season, got the final four outs for the save.

Oh and three other Lions’ relievers gave up only one single to the Wyverns over the final 3 2/3 innings.

Yoon Hee-sang, who started for SK, took the loss despite throwing a complete game. Aside from Lee‘s home run, Yoon gave up only four more singles and struck out six.

The second game will be back in Daegu at 6 p.m. Thursday.

Left-hander Jang Won-sam will start for the Lions, and right-hander Mario Santiago will take the mound for the Wyverns. (Yonhap News)

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