Lotte Giants’ Jo Sung-hwan gets a timely hit during the Game 2 of second round of the 2012 KBO playoffs. (Yonhap News)
The Lotte Giants defeated the SK Wyverns 5-4 in 10 innings on Wednesday to tie their second round playoff series at one game apiece in South Korea's top baseball league.
In the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) contest at Munhak Stadium here, west of Seoul, SK's reliever Jung Woo-ram walked in a run with the bases loaded in the top of the 10th inning, as the Giants erased a three-run deficit against the vaunted Wyverns bullpen.
Jung hit Jeon Jun-woo with a pitch with one out in the top 10th, and a single and an intentional walk loaded the bases. Jung Hoon, who entered the game as a pinch runner in the seventh, battled the left-handed pitcher for five pitches to draw the walk.
The Wyverns had runners on first and third with one out in the bottom 10th, but Choi Youn-suk struck out swinging and Lim Hoon flied out to left to end the game.
Kim Sung-bae earned the win with 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief work. Choi Dae-sung picked up the save.
Jung Woo-ram, who recorded a career high 30 saves in the regular season, took the loss.
The third and fourth games of this best-of-five series shift to Busan's Sajik Stadium, Lotte's home, on Friday and Saturday. If necessary, the fifth game will be back at Munhak next Monday.
For the second straight night, the Wyverns got on board first, when Choi Jeong took Lotte starter Song Seung-jun deep over the left field in the bottom first.
In the top second, the Giants' cleanup Hong Sung-heun responded with a solo shot off SK starter Yoon Hee-sang.
With the Wyverns holding on to the one-run lead, Cho In-sung drove in two runs with a double to left center off reliever Chong Tae-hyon in the bottom sixth.
Taking over with a three-run cushion in the seventh, the normally stingy SK bullpen was knocked around. Moon Kyu-hyun's run-scoring groundout and Kim Joo-chan's double brought the Giants to within one. And then Cho Sung-hwan hit a pinch-hit single to tie the score at 4-4.
Cho had been 2-for-12 in the postseason before Wednesday and Park Joon-seo started the game in favor of Cho at second base.
Relieving starter Yoon, SK's Uhm Jung-wook was tagged for three earned runs in one-third of an inning.
Both clubs missed an opportunity to score in the ninth inning.
Lotte had runners on first and second with two down, but Park Jong-yoon weakly popped out to third.
In the bottom ninth, cleanup Lee Ho-joon came to the plate with two outs and runners on second and third, but grounded out to short to send the game to extra innings.
Jeon Jun-woo, the Giants' center fielder who had been 2-for-15 in these playoffs before Wednesday, was 4-for-4 and scored two runs. Kim Joo-chan went 3-for-5 with two doubles in the leadoff spot for Lotte.
Choi Jeong went 2-for-4 with a steal for the losing side. (Yonhap News)