The Samsung Lions came from behind to defeat the Doosan Bears 6-2 in Game 6 of the Korean Series on Thursday, forcing a decisive seventh game in the championship final for the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO).
Playing host at Daegu Stadium, 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul, Chae Tae-in blasted a go-ahead two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth, and Park Han-yi put the game out of reach with a three-run shot in the seventh, as the Lions stormed back to knot the best-of-seven affair at 3-3 after trailing three games to one.
|The Samsung Lions come from behind to defeat the Doosan Bears 6-2 in Game 6 of the Korean Series on|
Thursday. (Yonhap News)
The Bears hit two solo home runs but also wasted a pair of bases-loaded opportunities before the Lions made them pay.
The seventh game will be back at Daegu Stadium at 6 p.m. Friday.
The Lions are trying to become the first team to win the pennant and the Korean Series in three straight years, and also the first to win the Korean Series after going 3-1.
Only one other team, the 2000 Doosan Bears, even forced a Game 7 after trailing 3-1 in the Korean Series. The Bears lost to the Hyundai Unicorns in the seventh game.
The Bears also have a bit of history at stake: they're hoping to become the first team to win the Korean Series after ending the regular season in fourth place.
With the Lions down 2-1 and Doosan's starter Dustin Nippert cruising along, Park opened the sixth with a single. Chae then stepped up and took the Bears' right-hander over the left-center field for his second home run in as many games.
Nippert stayed in the game to start the seventh. He hit Jin Kap-yong with a pitch and gave up a single to Bae Young-seop. With two outs, Park delivered the knockout blow with a three-run homer over the right field and chased Nippert from the game.
The Lions threw nine pitchers at the Bears, and after a shaky start by Rick van den Hurk, their stout bullpen kept the Bears at bay over the final eight innings.
Right-hander Sim Chang-min was the winning pitcher thanks to 1 1/3 scoreless innings in relief. Closer Oh Seung-hwan retired the final batter with two men on base for the third save of the Korean Series.
Nippert took the loss after allowing six earned runs on seven hits and a walk in 6 2/3 innings. He had thrown six shutout innings in Game 2 of the series, and had gone 3-0 against the Lions with a 1.89 ERA during the regular season.
For the Bears, Jeong Su-bin led off the game with a solo shot off the starter van den Hurk, putting his team on board before many of the capacity 10,000 fans at Daegu Stadium even took their seats.
It was the first-ever home run that started a Korean Series game.
Van den Hurk issued two walks before getting out of the opening inning. He was relieved by right-hander Bae Young-soo to begin the second inning after complaining of pains in his right biceps.
Van den Hurk had tossed 7 2/3 scoreless innings in two appearances in the Korean Series before Thursday.
The Bears frittered away their chances to increase their lead. In the top second, they packed the bases with two outs after Bae gave up a single and hit two batters with a pitch, but Kim Hyun-soo flied out to left to end the inning.
In the top third, the Bears loaded the bases with two hits and a walk with one out, but Cha Woo-chan, Samsung's third pitcher of the night, induced Choi Jae-hoon into an inning-ending double play.
Buoyed after killing two Doosan rallies, the Lions fought back in the bottom third, as Jin Kap-yong led off the inning with a double and later came around to score the tying run on a sacrifice fly by Bae Young-seop.
Cleanup Choi Jun-seok restored the Bears' lead with a solo home run in the fifth inning. It was his team-best sixth long ball of the postseason and third of the Korean Series.
The Lions refused to go away. In the sixth, Chae finally made the Bears pay for their futility with the opposite field homer.
Park followed suit with his fifth career Korean Series home run.
Park led the offense, going 2-for-4 with three RBIs and two runs scored. Chae also had two hits and drove in two runs.
Choi Jun-seok was 3-for-4 from the cleanup spot. He has now gone 6-for-8 with three home runs and four RBIs in his past two games, both Doosan losses. (Yonhap News)