The Dinos put up a seven-spot in the top fifth to break open the scoreless game at Sajik Stadium in Busan, some 450 kilometers southeast of Seoul, to beat the Giants three games to two in the best-of-five first round showdown.
NC starter Eric Hacker tossed 6 1/3 scoreless innings for the win, and the Dinos will now face the Doosan Bears in the best-of-five second round, which will begin Tuesday at the Bears' home, Jamsil Stadium in Seoul.
This will be the rematch of last year's Korean Series, where the Bears swept the Dinos in four straight games to capture their second straight KBO championship.
|Na Sung-bum of the NC Dinos hits a two-run single against the Lotte Giants in the top of the fifth inning in Game 5 of their first round Korea Baseball Organization postseason series at Sajik Stadium in Busan on Oct. 15, 2017. (Yonhap)|
The start of the game was delayed by 20 minutes in constant drizzles, and it had the makings of a pitching duel between Hacker and his Lotte counterpart, Park Se-woong.
Then all hell broke loose in the top fifth. After a walk and a single to start the frame, cleanup Xavier Scruggs drove home the Dinos' first run with a single.
The hit chased Park from the game. New pitcher Cho Jung-hoon walked the first batter he faced, and Lee Ho-jun singled home another run to make it 2-0 Dinos.
Two batters later, with the bases loaded, Son Si-hyun hit a sacrifice fly to right for a 3-0 lead. Cho then issued two straight walks to let in a run.
Park Min-woo's RBI single made it 5-0 Dinos, and Na Sung-bum followed up with a two-run single for a seven-run cushion.
In the fifth inning, the Dinos drew four walks and had five singles, while sending 12 men to the plate.
The Dinos added two runs in the eighth on back-to-back RBI singles by Son and Kim Tae-gun.
But the game belonged to Hacker, who held the Giants to four hits. The right-hander struck out eight and walked two for his second KBO postseason victory.
Also importantly, Hacker saved the Dinos' bullpen ahead of the next round, which will open after just one day of break. Three relievers limited the Giants to four hits the rest of the game to complete the shutout. (Yonhap)