KT Wiz has finally moved into sole possession of second place. It took the team 74 days after escaping from 10th place to achieve sole possession of 2nd Place.
On the 19th, KT won the regular season game of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League against the Hanwha Eagles at Hanwha Life Eagles Park in Daejeon, Korea, 5-4 in 10 extra innings.
With the win, KT avenged the previous day’s loss and moved into sole possession of second place with a season record of 57 wins, 46 losses, and two draws, and a +11 win-loss margin. The win over SSG Landers, who have lost five in a row, came 74 days after their comeback victory over Sajik Lotte on June 6. The win-loss margin went from -14 to +11 in just over two months.
The two teams traded home runs. It was a back-and-forth affair. Hanwha took the lead in the bottom of the third inning when Lee Do-yoon led off with a single to right, stole second, put runners on first and third with a single up the middle by Moon Byeon-bin, and scored on a Nick Williams sacrifice fly to right-center field.
KT tied the game at 1-1 in the top of the next inning when Anthony Alford blasted a solo shot to left field with the bases loaded. His 11th home run of the season. In the top of the fifth, leadoff hitter Oh Yoon-seok hit a solo shot over the left-center field fence. It was his second straight home run to give KT the lead.
However, after Williams’ sacrifice fly, the Hanwha bats exploded after being put on the back foot. With one out in the bottom of the fifth, Moon walked and Williams doubled to right-center to put runners on second and third, and Noh crushed a 130.7 mph slider from KT starter Choi Byung-seong for a three-run homer to left field. It was his 29th home run of the season, putting him just one short of the 30-homer plateau for the first time in his career. It made it a 4-2 game. Sitting on his knees, he lifted a low slider and then launched it, reaching a speed of 170.2 kilometers per hour.
But in the top of the seventh, KT didn’t give up. Starter Ricardo Sanchez was still on the mound. KT put runners on second and third with no outs when Kim Min-hyuk singled to left and Oh Yoon-seok doubled to left-center, and Park Byung-ho came in to pinch-hit for Kim Jun-tae.
Hanwha also changed pitchers to Jang Si-hwan. Park won the game. Byung-ho Park hit a two-run single up the middle to tie the game at 4-4.
The game went into extra innings, and the team put on a one-man show to complete the upset. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Choi Jae-hoon’s big hit to left-center field was chased down and thrown out at first base to prevent a run from scoring.
In the top of the 10th inning, he led off with a double to left field and stole third base as the opposing batter fumbled at second base. Choi Jae-hoon was thrown out at second base, but instead of going back to second, Choi used his base running skills to get to third base and continue the rally. In the end, Kim Sang-soo hit an RBI triple to right-center field to make it 5-4.
The starting pitching staff left the mound a bit prematurely after giving up four runs on seven hits (one home run) in five innings with three walks and two strikeouts, but Joo Kwon (one scoreless inning), Son Dong-hyun (two scoreless innings), and Kim Jae-yoon (two scoreless innings) were used in relief to secure the win.
A super catch and a crucial double in the final inning sealed the victory. Kim Sang-soo was the hero of the game, but pinch-hitter Park Byung-ho had also paved the way with a one-out, one-kill performance.
Hanwha’s starter, Ricardo Sanchez, went six innings (two homers) with one walk, eight strikeouts, and four runs. A poorly timed changeup in the seventh inning cost them the lead. Noh hit his 29th home run of the season, but it didn’t come at a crucial time. 토토사이트