The Samsung Lions snapped the NC Dinos’ four-game winning streak in the first game of the midweek. Samsung won its first midweek game against NC 9-6 at Lions Park in Daegu on Saturday.
Despite losing Koo Ja-rook and Kim Dong-jin to hamstring strains, the bats came alive in every inning. They scored a whopping nine runs off NC newcomer Taylor Widener, taking the pressure off Baek’s shoulders.
The Samsung bats exploded in the first inning.
Top hitter Kim Ji-chan led off with a straight bunt and was followed by a single from Kim Hyun-jun to put runners on first and third.
Kang Min-ho led off with a single and Kim Dong-yeop followed with a double. With runners on second and third, Oh Jae-il hit a two-run double to make it 4-0.
In the second inning, after Kim Ji-chan singled and stole second and Kim Hyun-joon walked, Kang Min-ho’s 3-2 pitch hit the tip of third baseman Park Seok-min’s glove and deflected into left field for the fifth run.
NC scored a run in the third inning on Seo Ho-cheol’s grounder with runners on first and third, then added three runs on Kwon Hee-dong’s sacrifice fly and Park Seok-min’s RBI single. 안전놀이터
Samsung, however, responded with four runs in the fifth inning on three hits and two walks to put the game out of reach for Widener, who had seemed to settle down in the third.
Leading 5-3 with two outs in the bottom of the fifth, Lee Jae-hyun singled and Kim Ho-jae followed with a two-run double to right-center field to drive in four runs.
Samsung starter Baek Jeong-hyun used his signature fastball and up-tempo pitching to give up one run on four hits with four walks and three strikeouts in five innings to earn his fourth win of the season (three wins) since March 19 against Changwon NC.
Taking the mound in the ninth inning with a three-run lead, Oh Seung-hwan pitched a one-hit shutout to earn his eighth save of the season and 378th of his KBO career. He combined his 80 saves in two seasons in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) and 42 saves in four seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) to reach the coveted 500-save plateau.
NC cut the deficit to 6-9 in the sixth on Son As-seop’s RBI double and a solo shot by Jae-hyun Hwan, who came off the bench, in the seventh, but it was too much to overcome. The team was unable to carry the momentum from last weekend’s three-game sweep of Doosan in Jamsil into midweek.
NC starter Taylor Widener, who had a strong start in his debut against the Doosan in Changwon on March 30, striking out nine in six innings, suffered his first loss in his second start in seven days, giving up nine runs on nine hits in 4⅔ innings with four walks and four strikeouts. Both his fastball and his command fell far short of his debut, leaving questions.