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Kia Tigers take Korean Series lead with road victory

The Kia Tigers defeated the Doosan Bears 6-3 on the road Saturday to move ahead in the Korean Series.

The Tigers' offense cashed in on early opportunities to back solid start by left-hander Pat Dean at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul, and now lead the best-of-seven Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) championship series two games to one.

Then with the Tigers nursing a 4-3 lead in the top ninth, Na Ji-wan smacked a pinch-hit, two-run home run for some insurance.

Tigers' Na Ji-wan celebrates after hitting a two-run homer against Doosan Bears on Saturday. (Yonhap)
Tigers' Na Ji-wan celebrates after hitting a two-run homer against Doosan Bears on Saturday. (Yonhap)

Game 4 is back at Jamsil Stadium at 2 p.m. Sunday.

The Tigers got the first run with two outs in the top third.

With a runner at second, Lee Myung-ki sliced one to left field for an RBI double. The ball curled just out of reach of left fielder Kim Jae-hwan and skipped into the corner for the two-bagger.

The Tigers tacked on two more runs in the top fourth, in part helped by Bowden's own miscue.

After one out, Bowden walked two straight batters, and committed a balk when he turned to throw to first to check the runner but stopped in the middle of his delivery.

Now with men at second and third, An Chi-hong made Bowden pay for the self-destructive act, as he slapped a single to right -- through a drawn-in infield -- to bring both runners home for a 3-0 lead.

The Bears' offense was quiet against Kia starter Pat Dean for the first three innings. They failed to bring home Min Byung-hun after he opened the game with a single in the first. In the third, they had men at the corners with back-to-back two-out singles, but Park Kun-woo popped out to second to end the inning.

They finally scored in the bottom fourth, as Yang Eui-ji hit a sacrifice fly to right to plate Kim Jae-hwan, who opened that frame with a double and moved to third on a sac bunt.

The Tigers regained their three-run lead in the top fifth.

Lee Myung-ki's leadoff double chased Bowden from the game. Kim Joo-chan sacrificed him over to third, and Roger Bernadina, facing new pitcher Lee Yong-chan, made it 4-1 with a sharp single to right.

Nick Evans gave the Bears some life in the bottom seventh with a solo home run off Dean for his first hit of the Korean Series and just second hit this postseason.

The Bears rallied again in the bottom eighth but managed just one run from a glorious opportunity.

Dean was chased after giving up a single and a walk to start the frame. After one out, cleanup Kim Jae-hwan bounced a single to right off new pitcher Sim Dong-sub to cut the deficit to 4-3.

The Bears still had men at the corners with just one out, but Oh Jae-il, who leads all players with six home runs this postseason, popped out to second.

The Tigers then summoned their closer Kim Se-hyun, who got Yang Eui-ji to fly out to right on the first pitch to preserve the one-run lead.

And the squandered opportunity came to bite the Bears in the ninth, as Na Ji-wan, who had been 0-for-7 in the series and was benched to start Game 3, launched a two-run blast to make it 6-3.

Dean earned his first postseason victory after holding the Bears to three runs on six hits in seven innings. He struck out three and walked two.

Kim Se-hyun recorded the final four outs for the save.

Bowden was lifted after giving up a leadoff double in the fifth. He was charged with four earned runs on five hits and three walks in four innings for the loss. (Yonhap)