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Bears beat up on Heroes to snap losing streak in KBO

21:39 August 18, 2022

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, Aug. 18 (Yonhap) -- Having plodded through an up-and-down season, the Doosan Bears may miss the South Korean baseball playoffs for the first time since 2014. But they aren't about to go down without a fight, and an encouraging victory over a struggling postseason contender Thursday was the latest piece of evidence.

Starter Brandon Waddell pitched six innings of one-run ball for his second win in South Korea, and the much-maligned offense erupted for seven runs in the seventh inning, as the Bears beat the Kiwoom Heroes 10-2 in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) on Thursday. The Bears snapped their losing skid at three, while the Heroes have now dropped three in a row.

The Bears are now 45-56-2 (wins-losses-ties) for the season, still in eighth place, while the Heroes remained in third at 61-46-2. The top five will advance to the postseason in October.

Kim Dae-han of the Doosan Bears hits an RBI double against the Kiwoom Heroes during the bottom of the seventh inning of a Korea Baseball Organization regular season game at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul on Aug. 18, 2022. (Yonhap)

The Bears batted around in that decisive seventh inning at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul, with Heo Kyoung-min capping off the rare offensive outburst with a two-run home run.

The 10 runs were the most the Bears have scored in a game since they plated 11 runs on July 14.

Kim Whee-jip's solo home run off Wardell gave the Heroes a 1-0 lead in the top of the second. Kim has only nine hits in 49 at-bats this month, but four of those have been homers.

The Bears pulled even in the bottom third, when Kim In-tae's groundout cashed in Jung Soo-bin, who'd led off that inning with a double and advanced to third on a flyout.

The Bears got the go-ahead run in the bottom fifth from an unlikely source. With one out, light-hitting second baseman Kang Seung-ho turned on a slider from starter Choi Won-tae and deposited it into left-field seats for a 2-1 lead.

Doosan Bears starter Brandon Waddell pitches against the Kiwoom Heroes during the top of the first inning of a Korea Baseball Organization regular season game at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul on Aug. 18, 2022. (Yonhap)

It was only Kang's fifth homer of 2022 in his 93rd game. The 28-year-old has never hit more than seven home runs in a season in his seven-year career.

The Bears then blew the game wide open in the seventh.

With runners on first and second, Kim Dae-han sent a fly ball to left-center gap. Left fielder Kim Jun-wan got under the ball but had it go off his glove for what was ruled as a double. That brought in one run for a 3-1 Doosan lead.

A walk loaded the bases for pinch hitter Park Gye-beom, whose fielder's choice grounder cashed home another run.

After Park stole second to leave the first base open, the Heroes intentionally walked Yang Suk-hwan, so left-handed reliever Lee Seung-ho would face left-handed hitting Jose Miguel Fernandez with the double play still in order.

Fernandez made the Heroes pay, though, by clearing the bases with a ringing double to right-center gap. The lead ballooned to 7-1.

Jose Miguel Fernandez of the Doosan Bears celebrates his three-run double against the Kiwoom Heroes during the bottom of the seventh inning of a Korea Baseball Organization regular season game at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul on Aug. 18, 2022. (Yonhap)

Heo then put the icing on the cake with a two-run bomb to left field against new pitcher Park Seung-joo.

The Bears added a run in the bottom eighth, while the Heroes got one back in the top ninth on Song Sung-mun's solo shot that proved too little, too late.

Waddell improved to 2-0 for the season while lowering his ERA from 3.60 to 2.81.

In his third start in the KBO since arriving here in July, Waddell looked wobbly early on. After Kim Whee-jip's home run in the second, Waddell also allowed two singles and got some loud outs in the outfield.

The left-hander mostly settled down over the next three innings and held the Heroes to one hit in that span. In the sixth, Waddell stranded two runners after giving up a walk and a single.

Waddell threw 110 pitches, 65 of them for strikes.

Doosan's No. 8 hitter Jung Soo-bin fell a home run shy of a cycle, going 3-for-4 with a single, a double and a triple. It was Jung's first three-hit game since May 31.

Heo Kyoung-min of the Doosan Bears crosses the home plate after hitting a two-run home run against the Kiwoom Heroes during the bottom of the seventh inning of a Korea Baseball Organization regular season game at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul on Aug. 18, 2022. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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