Lost to Nail, but KIA won!…Lotte ranked No. 1 with mobility and power

Lotte Giants stopped the lone leader KIA Tigers’ five-game winning streak and won a thrilling come-from-behind victory. KIA ace James Nail failed to target but broke the bullpen.스포츠토토

Lotte won the 2024 Shinhan SOL Bank KBO League KIA 6-1 at Sajik Baseball Stadium in Busan on Sunday. After dispelling regret from having knelt down repeatedly against KIA in Gwangju from April 27 to 28, Lotte enjoyed the joy of winning its first match against KIA in this season.

The process leading up to the victory was not smooth. Lotte’s batters had no point until the sixth inning due to Kia’s pitching capability. There were a number of opportunities, including one out and second base in the second inning, two out and second base in the third inning, no outs in the fourth inning and runners on first and second base in the fifth inning, but none of them were saved.

Nail cooked Lotte’s batters based on a combination of two-seam fastball with maximum speed of 151 kilometers per hour and main weapon sweeper that sharply bends sideways. In addition, high speed change-up with maximum speed of 143 kilometers per hour and cut fastball with 144 kilometers per hour were mixed, making it difficult for Lotte batters to bat easily whenever they had a chance.

Lotte only scored one run to Nail in Gwangju until the sixth inning on the 27th of last month. Except for Ko Seung-min’s solo home run, his offense did not go smoothly and he dedicated nine strikeouts.

Ahead of the game, Lotte manager Kim Tae-hyung acknowledged Nail’s current pitching capability. He even mentioned Eric Peddy, who left for the Major League after dominating the KBO league with the NC Dinos last year.

Manager Kim Tae-hyung said, “Nail has good width and speed with breaking balls from side to side. After all, what matters is how much batters can make mistakes,” adding, “It is true that a good pitcher’s ball makes it difficult to hit. It is true that nail is a really tricky pitcher.”

He also said, “There are many similarities between the nail and the pitch type. The ball control that can be thrown to the left and right corners of the strike zone and the ball control is good.”

Manager Kim Tae-hyung hoped Lotte hitters would not miss the nail’s mistake, but the nail itself did not produce many mistakes. When there was a runner, he threw a stronger ball and finished the game without allowing a point.

However, Lotte also had its ace pitchers. Charlie Barnes, who had showdowns with Nail as starting pitcher, made five hits, two walks, seven strikeouts and one run in seven ⅔ innings, laying foundation for his come-from-behind victory.

Lotte’s batters took advantage of the KIA bullpen, which had been in operation since the top of the seventh inning after Nail stepped down the mound. With the bases loaded with two outs, Yoon Dong-hee hit a timely two-run hit to KIA left-hander Kwak Do-gyu, turning the game around 2-1.

For Lotte, which gained momentum, Yoon Dong-hee bullied KIA at base following the hit. Lotte continued its chances of second and third base with two outs as Ko Seung-min succeeded in stealing second base at bat.

When KIA pitcher Choi Ji-min threw wild pitches, Yoon Dong-hee penetrated into the home through the third base, followed by third base runner Hwang Sung-bin. As he touched the home plate first with his head-first sliding, Lotte was able to take a 4-1 lead.

Lotte Giants catcher Yoo Kang-nam. He hit a game-winning two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning against the 2024 Shinhan SOL Bank KBO League KIA Tigers in Game 3 at Sajik Baseball Stadium in Busan on May 21. Photo by Lotte Giants

Lotte completely broke Kia’s will to pursue the game with its two-run homerun Yoo Kang-nam, which was hit with one out and the second base in the bottom of the eighth inning. It was a wonderful homerun to end the game. He displayed intensive play in pitching and hitting against the top-ranked team, and started the week with one valuable win.

Still, KIA Nail’s pitch was literally perfect. Although he did not become a winning pitcher, he lowered his ERA to 1.65. As of May 21, he was the only pitcher who met the stipulated innings to maintain an ERA in the 1-point range.

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