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Magic number down to one

Samsung Lions look to close out SK Wyverns in Korean Series

Last season, the SK Wyverns were almost unstoppable, completing an amazing four-game sweep against the Samsung Lions that October to win the Korean Series.

This year, however, the season-ending showdown is a completely different story as the Incheon-based Wyverns have lost three of four games to the Lions’ unmatchable bullpen.

The visiting Lions showed their supremacy again with a 8-4 rout of the Wyverns at Incheon Munhak Stadium on Saturday.
The Samsung Lions are looking to keep the good times rolling for one more game. (Yonhap News)
The Samsung Lions are looking to keep the good times rolling for one more game. (Yonhap News)

Earlier, the Daegu team completed a two-game sweep at its home, and despite losing its third game in Incheon, it bounced back to win Game 4, thanks to Shin Myung-chul’s two-run homer.

With the win, the Lions have reduced their magic number to one.

On Saturday, the second-baseman Shin, who starred in the Lions’ 2-0 victory in Game 1 with his two-run hit, was again outstanding.

Until the third inning, Munhak Stadium was in an upbeat mood as the Wyverns were trailing the Lions by just one run.

But with a runner on third base, Shin opened the fourth inning with a powerful shot over the right field off Wyverns’ second pitcher Lee Jae-young, drawing frustration from the home crowd.

The Wyverns trailed 5-4 in the bottom of the seventh inning, thanks to Park Jae-sang’s three-run homer.

But the Lions were too good. Again their bullpen, which had a league-best 2.44 ERA this season, proved its pitching prowess.

In particular, right-hander Ahn Ji-man, who came into the game in the seventh with runners on first and third, closed out the inning safely and the Lions’ closer Oh Seung-hwan ended the ninth inning with two strikeouts to help the team win.

Now down 3-1, the Incheon side has no option but to win Monday’s game.

The Wyverns’ problem, said manager Lee Man-soo, is that their pitchers are showing signs of fatigue after pitching so many innings. So far this postseason, the Wyverns have played 13 games within three weeks.

“The pitchers seemed too tired, but we had no choice,” admitted Lee after the game on Saturday.

Game 5 of the Korean Series is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Monday at Jamsil Stadium.

Brian Gordon is scheduled to start for the Wyverns, while Cha Woo-chan, who helped win Game 1, is set to take the mound for the Lions.

By Oh Kyu-wook (