‘Ahn Chi-hong’s final shot + Han Dong-hee’s wedge shot’…Lotte, last in home runs, wins with ‘two shots’
The Lotte Giants, who had been struggling without their top hitter, came out of the gate with a bang.
Lotte earned a 4-3 victory over the Hanwha Eagles in the 2023 KBO League regular season on Saturday at Hanwha Life Eagles Park in Daejeon. The win restored Lotte’s win-loss margin, which had dropped to 5 percent the day before, and kept them within half a game of the third-place Doosan Bears. Hanwha, which had one loss and one win after an eight-game winning streak, added another loss and failed to continue its upward trend.
Lotte made things rather easy for themselves with a strong performance from starter Charlie Barnes. Throwing 99 pitches over six innings, Barnes allowed just two runs on seven hits while walking none and striking out three to earn his first quality start (six or more innings and three earned runs or less). He didn’t overpower the Hanwha bats, but he was aggressive with his pitches, inducing in-play hits, and was effective in his innings.
Unlike Barnes, Hanwha’s fastball starter Moon Dong-ju was rattled by Lotte’s rifle unit. He threw his fastball over 150 kilometers per hour, but was overwhelmed by the tenacious Lotte hitters, throwing 21 pitches in the first inning alone. He struck out the side in the first inning and allowed only one hit in the second.
However, he faltered in the top of the third inning. With the bases loaded and one out, he gave up a single to LOTTE leadoff man Hwang Sung-bin. Hwang’s aggressive baserunning allowed the next batter, Yoon Dong-hee, to hit a double to left-center to tie the game. He then gave up back-to-back doubles to Ko Seung-min to put the game out of reach.
The Lotte rifle unit answered back. Noh Si-hwan, who had trailed the home run leader Choi Jung (SSG Landers-19) by one with his 18th home run of the season the day before, took a three-pitch fastball from Barnes in the bottom of the third inning for a tying solo home run over the left-center field fence. Hanwha tried to capitalize on the opportunity with a double off the bat of the next batter, Nick Williams, but was unable to capitalize.
Opportunity followed crisis for Lotte In the fourth inning, Lotte’s leadoff hitter, Ahn Chi-hong, hit a home run to left field off Moon Dong-joo. He waited for a slider low in the zone and smashed it over the fence. Han Dong-hee followed suit in the seventh inning. In the seventh inning, Han took advantage of a high changeup from reliever Yoon Dae-kyung and blasted a home run to left field to extend the lead to two runs. 메이저놀이터
Hanwha had a chance to tie the game, but couldn’t capitalize. In the bottom of the seventh, Hanwha had a scoring chance when Jung Eun-won led off with a single and Lee Do-yoon followed with a bunt, but Kim Jin-wook, who was on the mound, was hit by a pitch. The next batter, Lee Jin-young, followed with a walk. Lotte switched to Han Hyun-hee on the mound, but he was immediately retired by Kim Tae-yeon to load the bases.
Lotte narrowly escaped with Koo Seung-min. He gave up a walk to Noh Si-hwan to load the bases for Kim Jin-wook, but Williams and Chae Eun-sung made the save to preserve the one-run lead. After getting out of the jam, he pitched the bottom of the eighth inning and struck out the side in order to fulfill his set-up man duties. He was relieved by Kim Won-joong in the ninth inning. It was his 15th save of the season.
29 home runs before this game