(LEAD) Landers launch 3 home runs in rout of Lions

INCHEON, Hosting the best road team in South Korean baseball Tuesday night, the SSG Landers kept calm and hit dingers.

The Landers went deep three times to back an excellent start by Oh Won-seok, as they cruised to a 9-2 victory over the Samsung Lions at Incheon SSG Landers Field in Incheon, just west of Seoul.

The Lions arrived in Incheon with the best road record in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) this year at 16-6-1 (wins-losses-ties).

Oh threw a season-high six innings and held the Lions to only two singles while striking out seven. He no-hit the Lions through 4 2/3 innings in front of 16,595 fans.

It was Oh’s first scoreless start of this year. He came in with a 5.63 ERA in nine outings.

The left-hander handily won the starting pitching duel against Won Tae-in, who sported a 1.55 ERA, the second-lowest mark in the KBO, before allowing four runs on six hits in six innings.

The Landers broke the ice in the bottom of the second, thanks to back-to-back RBI doubles by Ha Jae-hoon and Kim Min-sik
off Won.

Won had not given up any earned run across his past four starts, spanning 25 innings.

The Landers doubled their lead in the bottom third, when Han Yoo-seom, returning from a 10-day absence due to an adductor injury, smacked a two-run home run to right-center field to make it a 4-0 game.

It was Han’s 12th home run of the season, tying him with two others for second place in the league.

While Won was uncharacteristically struggling, Oh was cruising along.

He retired the first 11 batters he faced. And with two outs in the fourth, Oh walked two straight batters on eight pitches to get into his first jam of the game. Oh then fell behind 3-0 against Lee Jae-hyeon before getting him to ground out to shortstop on a 3-2 fastball.

The Lions didn’t get their first hit off Oh until there were two outs in the fifth, courtesy of Kang Min-ho’s single, and Kim Seong-yoon immediately followed up with a single of his own.

Ryu Ji-hyuk nearly had the Lions’ third straight hit off Oh, when he sent a screamer down
the first base line. But first baseman Ko Myeong-jun made a diving stab and stepped on the bag to rob Ryu of an extra-base hit.

The Landers then blew the game wide open with five runs in the seventh — all of them coming via long balls.

First, it was a three-run blast by cleanup Guillermo Heredia off reliever Lee Seung-min. Lee then hit Han Yoo-seom, and Oh Tae-gon touched the left-hander for a two-run home run to left field, putting the Landers up 9-0.

The Lions tried to make things more interesting in the top eighth, when they loaded the bases with one out against reliever Han Doo-sol.

Facing the meat of the order, Han dug deep and struck out cleanup Kim Young-woong before getting Lee Jae-hyeon to ground out weakly to second base.

The Lions avoided getting shut out for the first time this season by scoring twice in the top ninth on Kim Hun-gon’s two-run homer.

“Won-seok pitched his best game of the season,” Landers manager Lee Sung-yong said of his starter. “Hopefully, he will be able to build on this
start and keep pitching well the rest of the way.”

Lee also praised the work of catcher Kim Min-sik for calling a great game and contributing an RBI at the plate.

The heart of the Landers’ order delivered five RBIs, with Han getting the ball rolling with his second-inning homer.

“I am happy to help the team win in my first game back from injury,” Han said. “I feel good. I wanted to find my rhythm as quickly as possible, and this was a great start. I felt really helpless watching the team struggle while I was away last week. I want to do my best the rest of the season.”

Source: Yonhap News Agency