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SK beat Samsung, reduce champ series deficit to one

The SK Wyverns defeated the Samsung Lions 12-8 Sunday for their first win of the South Korean baseball championship series.

In Game 3 of the Korean Series at Munhak Stadium in Incheon, just west of Seoul, Kim Kang-min belted a three-run home run as part of the home team Wyverns‘ six-run sixth inning that completed their comeback from an earlier 6-1 deficit. The Wyverns pounded seven Samsung pitchers to the tune of 17 hits, including three home runs, and now trail in the best-of-seven championship round two games to one.

The Lions, who won the first two games of the series, lost their big lead Sunday with uncharacteristically sloppy defense. The Lions had the second fewest errors in the league during the regular season with 67 in 133 games but committed three on Sunday.

The fourth game will be back at Munhak Stadium at 6 p.m. Monday. These two teams also met in the past two Korean Series, with the Wyverns prevailing in 2010 and the Lions taking the title in 2011.

Only one team has come back from a 2-0 deficit to win the Korean Series. The 2007 SK Wyverns lost the first two against the Doosan Bears and then went on to win the next four to win their first championship.

The Wyverns entered the bottom of the sixth trailing 7-5, but put up six runs to quickly move ahead 11-7.

Jeong Keun-woo hit a run-scoring single to bring the Wyverns to within one. Two batters later, Choi Jeong hit a hard grounder to shortstop Kim Sang-soo with runners on the corners. Kim made a diving grab but failed to get the force out at second base and his wild throw to first bounced into the SK dugout. That allowed both runners to score and make it 8-7 for the Wyverns.

After recording the second out of the inning, the Lions’

reliever Ahn Ji-man intentionally walked Park Jung-kwon to face Kim Kang-min. The light-hitting center fielder made the Lions pay with his first career postseason home run.

The Wyverns went up 1-0 in the bottom of the first on Choi Jeong‘s single, but the lead only lasted two innings as the Lions scored six runs in the top third, capped off by Choi Hyung-woo’s three-run blast.

Just when the game appeared out of reach, the Wyverns began to eat into the Lions‘ lead.

They scored twice in the bottom third, and Park Jin-man’s solo shot in the bottom fourth made it a two-run ball game at 6-4. Later in the fourth, Jeong Keun-woo hit a one-out single and came around to score on a wild pitch that made it 6-5.

The Lions went back up by two in the fifth thanks to an RBI double by Cho Dong-chan, but then came undone in the disastrous sixth.

Kim Kang-min went 3-for-5 with four RBIs for the victorious side. He was one of four different SK hitters with at least three hits in the game.

For Samsung, Choi hit his second home run of the Korean Series in the losing cause.

Song Eun-beom earned the win with two scoreless innings in relief. Ahn Ji-man took the loss after giving up four runs in one relief inning.

Neither of the starters was impressive on Sunday. Bae Young-soo for Samsung was knocked around for seven hits and three runs over three innings, while SK‘s Dave Bush only lasted two innings and was charged with two earned runs.

In Game 4, right-hander Mitch Talbot, an ex-Major League Baseball pitcher, will take the mound for the Lions, and the Wyverns will counter with left-hander Kim Kwang-hyun to start the game.

Talbot appeared in one game against the Wyverns during the regular season and had a no decision, giving up two runs in six innings.

Kim went 1-2 in three games against the Lions during the season and got knocked around for 16 hits and nine earned runs in 15 innings. (Yonhap News)