The Doosan Bears edged out the LG Twins 4-2 to open their second round Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) playoff series on Wednesday, capitalizing on a pair of crucial errors from the hot corner.
LG's third baseman Jeong Seong-hoon made two errors that directly led to two of Doosan's three runs in the game at Seoul's Jamsil Stadium, as the Bears opened a 1-0 series in the best-of-five affair.
In the 24 previous best-of-five playoff series, the teams that won the first game advanced to the championship 19 times.
The second game will be back at Jamsil at 6 p.m. Thursday. Since the two teams share Jamsil as their home park, the series will stay in the nation's capital. The Twins have the home field advantage thanks to their superior regular season record.
The winner of this series will go on to face the Samsung Lions in the Korean Series. The Lions, who grabbed their third straight pennant, earned the bye to the Korean Series.
The Bears broke the 2-2 tie in the top of the seventh on Jeong's second error of the game.
Lee Jong-wook opened the inning with a single and got to third after a sacrifice bunt and a grounder. Choi Jun-seok hit a high chopper to third, but Jeong bobbled the ball at his feet and the plodding Choi beat the throw to first, as Lee scored the go-ahead run.
It was Jeong's first error in the top of the first that earlier contributed to Doosan's second run.
Lee Jong-wook led off the game for the Bears with a triple and later came home on a single by Kim Hyun-soo. Then with runners at the corners, Choi Jun-seok hit a grounder to third, but the Twins' third baseman made a high throw home as Jeong Su-bin slid safe from third.
Jeong Seong-hoon made 14 errors during the regular season, the third most among third basemen.
The Twins quickly tied the score in the bottom first. Park Yong-taik kicked things off with a single, and Lee Byung-kyu stepped up to launch a game-tying, two-run homer over the left field, jumping on the first pitch he saw from Doosan's starter Noh Kyung-eun.
Lee had just two homers in 401 regular season at-bats this year. After taking the 3-2 lead in the seventh, the Bears added an insurance run in the top of the ninth on Jeong Su-bin's RBI single.
That was all the offense the Twins could muster in this game, however, as Noh followed up his first-inning debacle with 4 2/3 hitless innings to earn his first postseason victory.
Hong Sang-sam, a much-maligned reliever with a history of postseason struggles, earned his first playoff save with three shutout innings in relief of Noh.
After getting out of the first inning, Ryu held the Bears to two singles and struck out six over his next 4 1/3 innings before leaving the game. He pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowing two runs, one of them unearned, on four hits and four walks. He struck out eight.
Lee Dong-hyun, who relieved Ryu in the sixth, took the loss. The Bears eliminated the Nexen Heroes in a grueling five-game series that ended Monday night, and received one day off before getting back into the postseason grind on Wednesday.
The Twins hadn't played since the end of the regular season on Oct. 5. By virtue of having the second-best record in the regular season, they had the bye to the second round. (Yonhap News)