It’s the bottom of the eighth inning of the Samsung-Dusan game in Jamsil on September 9th. With runners on second and third in a 3-3 tie, Samsung was in danger of giving up the game-winning run on an infield single. On the mound was Samsung left-hander Lee Jae-ik. With Doosan No. 4 Yang Seok-hwan at the plate, the bench signaled an automatic high four-pitch count.
Samsung’s choice for runners on second and third was Doosan No. 5 Kim In-tae, a left-handed hitter. However, the Samsung bench pulled the left-handed pitcher off the mound to face Kim In-tae and brought up right-handed reliever Kim Tae-hoon.
Kim was acquired from Kiwoom in late April. His performance in a Samsung uniform hasn’t been as good as expected, but on this day, he was perfect. After firing five consecutive two-seam fastballs, with the count 2-2, he drove the fifth pitch just inside the borderline of Kim In-Tae’s body for the final out. At the same time, he got out of the jam.
Samsung took the lead in the top of the ninth inning, and the leadoff hitter for the game-winning run was Ryu Ji-hyuk, who was acquired from KIA earlier this month. With Doosan closer Hong Gun-hee on the mound, Ryu, who was batting fifth and playing third base, drew a walk to load the bases with no outs. He then stole second base from Jose Pirela to extend the lead to two.
Samsung capitalized on the scoring opportunity when Ryu Ji-hyuk walked with no outs. Pirela’s infield hit deflected off the pitch, putting runners on first and third, but No. 8 Kang Kang-ul grounded out to shortstop to bring in Ryu Ji-hyuk. A throwing error by second baseman Lee Yoo-chan allowed Pirela, who was at second base, to score and give Samsung a 5-3 lead. Samsung tacked on one more run on an RBI single by Kim Hyun-jun to win 6-4.
In the eighth inning, Samsung’s pitching coach Kwon Oh-jun said, “With runners on base, I thought a harder pitch would be more likely to win. The manager 사설토토 thought so too, so I made the move right away, and it worked out well.”
Ryu’s move was also highlighted in Samsung head coach Park Jin-man’s postgame comments. “I think Ryu’s successful steal in the ninth inning decided the game. I want to praise both his sense of reading the game and his boldness.”
Ryu went hitless in his first three at-bats of the day, but he became a hero in his final at-bat.