Filling in for “important hitter” Russell, Lee goes 5-for-5 in the No. 4 spot

“I’m taking today (the 11th) off.”

Kiwoom Heroes manager Hong Won-ki announced the absence of the team’s mainstay shortstop, Edison Russell (29), ahead of the team’s game against the Suwon KT Wiz on the 11th. “In the game on the 10th, I fell while running and got a pain in my shoulder. I’m not going to use him in the second half today,” said Hong.

Russell’s absence is a significant loss for Kiwoom, as he is the starting shortstop and bats fourth. Hong started Shin Jun-woo at shortstop and turned to Lee Hyung-jong, 34, an unexpected choice for the No. 4 spot.

Lee was batting just .160 in his last 10 games before this one. In the first two games of the weekend’s three-game series against KT, he had gone silent with three consecutive hitless at-bats. However, Hong was bold enough to push Lee Hyung-jong into the No. 4 spot. “He is a very important player for our team. Even though he hasn’t had good results in recent games, his batting quality has been good,” Hong explained.

Lee responded to Hong’s faith in him. He pounded the KT mound with four hits, two doubles, one walk, and five RBIs in the team’s 14-5 victory.

Lee got on the board in the top of the first inning. Kiwoom capitalized on a bad throw by KT starter Joo Woo-jeong to score the first run of the inning. Lee Hyung-jong, the No. 4 hitter, drew a full-count walk against Joo and scored the first run of the game.

In the top of the second inning, Lee returned to the plate and drove in another run with a long ball. With two outs and a 5-0 lead, he took advantage of KT’s new pitcher-only rule by pulling a slider down the middle for a two-run double to left field.

Lee struck again in the top of the fourth inning with runners on second and third. This time, he sent the ball down the left field line to bring all the runners home comfortably. Kiwoom extended the lead to 8-0 with two more RBIs from Lee Hyung-jong.안전놀이터

Lee added a sacrifice fly in the top of the eighth, giving him five RBIs on the day. The last time he had more than five RBI in a game this season was on June 22, 2021, against the Incheon SSG Landers (seven RBI) while with the LG Twins.

Kiwoom pounded the KT mound into a groggy state with 18 hits. Starter Jang Jae-young was all smiles with three scoreless innings, while second starter Lee Myung-jong pitched two scoreless innings to earn his second win of the season.

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