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who had been pushed to the brink after suffering two consecutive losses at home, won two consecutive away games and balanced their playoff (PO) series record at 2 wins and 2 losses.
KT won an overwhelming 11-2 victory against NC Dinos in Game 4 of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League Postseason PO held at Changwon NC Park on the 3rd. The two teams, tied with 2 wins and 2 losses, will compete for advancement to the Korean Series in Game 5 of the PO held at KT Wiz Park in Suwon on the 5th.
The main contributor to the victory in Game 4 was undoubtedly ‘Kudong-won’ William Cuevas. Cuevas, who recorded a loss in the first PO game on October 30th with a disappointing pitching performance of 6 hits, 1 home run, 2 strikeouts, 2 walks, and 7 runs (4 earned) in 3 innings, allowed 1 hit and 3 in 6 innings despite appearing on the mound after 3 days of rest. He pitched a perfect pitch with no strikeouts, no walks, no runs, no runs. Cuevas, who made up for his poor performance in Game 1, enjoyed the joy of being selected as Daily MVP in Game 4.
KT took the lead by scoring from the beginning of the first inning. Leadoff hitter Kim Sang-soo got on base with a ball that fit his body, and while trying to steal second base, NC catcher Kim Hyeong-jun's throwing error caused him to advance to third base. After Hwang Jae-gyun retired with a pitcher's ground ball, Alford's walk put the runners on first and third base with one out, and Byeong-ho Park scored the first run with a timely hit that hit the fence over the height of right field. In the ensuing chance with one out and runners on first and third base, Jang Seong-woo added a score with a sacrifice fly to center field to take a 2-0 lead.
In the bottom of the first inning, Cuevas induced a ground ball to third base against lead hitter Son Ah-seop, but third baseman Hwang Jae-gyun's error allowed him to get on base. However, unlike in the first game, Cuevas did not waver. Rather, Cuevas, who had sent a gesture to Hwang Jae-gyun to calm down, ended the inning by putting out Park Min-woo and Park Geon-woo, hitting a fly ball, and striking out Martin on three pitches.
KT knocked NC starter Song Myung-ki in the top of the second inning. Oh Yoon-seok's infield hit and Bae Jeong-dae's right-handed hit put the team on first and second base with no outs, and Cho Yong-ho's sacrifice bunt created a chance for second and third bases with one out. NC dropped Song Myeong-ki and brought in Lee Jae-hak, but they could not stop KT's upward trend. Rather, Lee Jae-hak, who gave up an extra point with a wild pitch, also walked Kim Sang-soo, putting him on first and third base with one out, and allowed an RBI and timely double to Hwang Jae-gyun, bringing the score to 4-0.
KT's scoring streak continued in the 3rd and 4th innings. In the top of the third inning, Jang Seong-woo's single, Moon Sang-cheol's sacrifice bunt, and Oh Yoon-seok's single gave Bae Jeong-dae a 2-RBI, timely hit to make it 6-0. In the top of the fourth inning, Hwang Jae-gyun and Jang Seong-woo hit solo shots to make it 8-0.
Meanwhile, Cuevas erased the inning with frightening momentum. Cuevas, who continued his three-way strike from the second to the fifth inning, struck out Park Se-hyuk and grounded Kim Joo-won to first base in the bottom of the sixth, quickly getting two outs. With no runners on 2 outs, the 4th pitch cutter thrown to Son Ah-seop was attacked and the no-hit streak was broken, but Park Min-woo was treated with a grounder to shortstop and the inning ended. Cuevas, who had pitched only 73 pitches until the 6th inning, did not go on the mound anymore as the score gap had widened significantly.
After one out in the top of the 7th inning, KT created a chance to load the bases with Kim Min-hyuk's walk, Oh Yun-seok's hit, and Bae Jeong-dae's walk, then added 1 point with Cho Yong-ho's sacrifice fly. Then, with 2 outs and runners on 1st and 2nd base, Kim Sang-soo's timely hit made it 10-0. KT widened the gap to 11-0 with Alford's solo home run as the leadoff hitter in the top of the 8th inning.
NC broke the frustrating trend in the attack in the bottom of the 8th inning. Leadoff hitter Oh Young-soo opened the game with a double against KT's Sovereign, and back-to-back hits to Seo Ho-cheol put the team on first and third base with no outs. Park Se-hyuk then attacked the first pitch of the game and recorded a timely hit to bring in a runner on third base. After Kim Han-byeol retired with a fly ball to center field, Son Ah-seop's timely hit on first and second base with one out and the score was 11-2.
KT gave up a walk to leadoff hitter Kim Seong-wook in the bottom of the 9th inning, but Park Young-bin hit a ground ball to second base, Do Tae-hoon hit a fly ball to left field, and Seo Ho-cheol hit a ground ball to second base, winning Game 4 with an 11-2 score. It was a game with many rewards, including Cuevas regaining his ace form and the batters' hitting skills improving. KT is attempting a 'reverse sweep' of 3 consecutive wins after losing 2 times (Hyundai Unicorns in 1996 and SK Wyverns in 2009) in the history of the KBO League playoffs (best-of-5 series).
Meanwhile, NC suffered a complete defeat as starting pitcher Song Myung-ki collapsed early on, allowing 4 runs on 3 hits, 2 walks, and walks in 1⅓ innings. To make matters worse, NC, which was unable to confirm its advancement to the Korean Series at home, had to go on a burdensome trip to Suwon under unfavorable conditions as 'ace' Eric Peddy's start in Game 5 was cancelle
Monday, November 6, 2023