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Kiwoom Heroes ride the storm for a dominant weekend

Sept 10,2019
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The Kiwoom Heroes celebrate after beating the Samsung Lions at Gocheok Sky Dome in western Seoul on Friday. [YONHAP]
Stormy weather over the weekend couldn’t stop the KBO, with only three of 15 games canceled despite the arrival of Typhoon Lingling. As gale-force winds battered the country, the Kiwoom Heroes proved that they’re not finished with this season yet.

After a 7-3 win against the Kia Tigers at Gwangju-Kia Champions Field in Gwangju on Saturday, the Heroes continued their streak on Sunday, defeating the Tigers with a big 13-3 score.

The Heroes got off to a strong start by scoring four runs in the first inning against Tigers’ starter Kang Yi-jun. Then, by the fifth inning, the Heroes extended their lead to 10-0. Heroes’ slugger Park Byung-ho hit his 31st home run of the season at the top of the seventh inning to once again extend the lead. With a solo homer, Park increased his lead in the home run race to three ahead of teammate Jerry Sands.

Along with Park, Lee Jung-hoo also got to extend his lead. By adding four hits off six at-bats, Lee extended his lead in the KBO’s hits column at 180. Lee is now five hits ahead of Jose Fernandez of the Doosan Bears.

On the mound, Lee Seung-ho picked up his eighth win of the season by tossing six scoreless innings.

In addition to individual statistics, the Heroes also got to achieve a record. By sweeping their two-game weekend series against the Tigers, the Heroes became the second team in the KBO this season to reach 80 wins. This was also the first time ever that the Heroes have picked up 80 wins in a single season since the club made its debut in 2008.

The last time the Heroes advanced to the Korean Series was back in 2014, when they were called the Nexen Heroes. At the time, the Heroes finished second in the regular season but only picked up 78 wins, as each club played 128 games in a single season.

The number of games increased to 144 starting in the 2015 season.

Now, the Heroes are once again chasing the Bears for the second place spot. The Heroes have 80 wins, 53 losses and one draw, while the Bears have 77 wins and 50 losses. Although the two clubs are tied in game difference, the Bears are ahead in winning percentage.

The Bears, who only got to play two games due to rain cancellations over the weekend, finished with a 1-2 loss to the LG Twins on Sunday. The SK Wyverns also finished their weekend with a loss by losing 0-5 to the KT Wiz.

The Samsung Lions defeated the NC Dinos 9-4 at home at Daegu Samsung Lions Park on Sunday. As they lost Saturday’s game 8-2, for the Lions, it was a chance for redemption.

Towards the bottom of the regular season standing, the Lotte Giants finally ended their eight-game losing streak by defeating the ninth-ranked Hanwha Eagles 12-0. With a win, the Giants finished their weekend series against the Eagles at a win and a loss, as they lost 1-5 on Saturday.

Despite the win, the Giants are still in last place, 2.5 games behind the Eagles.

Starting today, the Bears will host the Dinos at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in southern Seoul, while the Twins will be heading to Cheongju Baseball Stadium to play a two-game series against the Eagles. At Munhak Baseball Stadium, the Wyverns will play a two-game series against the Heroes while the Giants will play against the Tigers at Sajik Baseball Stadium. In Daegu, the Lions will host the Wiz for a two-game series.

BY PARK SO-YOUNG, KANG YOO-RIM [kang.yoorim@joongang.co.kr]