‘Tiger roars’ in top 10…8th straight win & 4th place jump

The top of the Korean Baseball Organization 메이저놀이터(KBO) is in a state of upheaval with the fall winds. The Kia Tigers, led by the power of their bats, are at the center of the storm. They won their eighth straight game to move into sole possession of fourth place.

Kia won 8-6 against SSG Landers at SSG Landers Field in Incheon on Wednesday. With their eighth consecutive win, their first in two years since 2021, KIA moved into sole possession of fourth place in the standings, overtaking the NC Dinos, who were swept by the Samsung Lions on the same day. They also took a 7-6 lead in the head-to-head series against SSG this season.

While the momentum favored KIA, who were on a winning streak, SSG’s determination after hitting the back of the net could not be ignored. SSG made a major change to its coaching staff before the game. Hitting coach Lee Jin-young and pitching coach Cho Woong-chun were sent down to the Future League. They were replaced by Quality Control Coach Jung Kyung-bae, Second Team Hitting Coach Park Jung-kwon, and Bullpen Coach Lee Seung-ho.

Throughout the nine innings, the game was a back-and-forth battle, with one side taking the lead and the other taking the lead again. The balance was tied at 4-4 in the fifth inning when KIA’s Kim Do-young hit a home run, but it was soon tilted back in SSG’s favor with the league’s second-best home run.

In a game that could have gone either way, it was the late-game focus of the KIA bats that ended the game. Trailing 5-6 in the eighth inning, Kim Tae-gun’s tying RBI single and pinch-hitter Ko Jong-wook’s clutch hit turned the game around. Kim Do-young celebrated the team’s victory with a solo shot in the ninth.

Coincidentally, four of the top five teams in the league, with the exception of KIA, were swept by teams in the bottom half of the standings. The top-ranked LG Twins were unable to get the decisive hit against the Hanwha Eagles, losing 3-5 and dropping the sweep. A two-run double by “30-homer hitter” Noh Si-hwan in the second inning proved to be the difference.

KT Wiz, who had been flirting with the top spot, received a hard blow as they were swept by the chili pepper squad, the Kiwoom Heroes. Kiwoom ace Ariel Furado pitched a 6⅔-inning no-hitter to pick up his ninth win of the season. The NC Dinos also lost 1-6 to the Samsung Lions, who were led by David Buchanan. The Lotte Giants, looking to re-enter the mid-table, lost to the Doosan Bears 0-2.

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