Rojas’ grand slam in the 11th inning extends KT’s lead to 20 and moves them into seventh place

KT Wiz snapped Samsung Electronics’ three-game losing streak with a hard-fought victory. Mel Rojas Jr. hit the game-winning hit in the top of the 11th inning of extra innings.

KT won 8-5 against the Samsung Lions at Samsung Lions Park in Daegu, South Korea, on April 21. With 20 wins (29 losses, one draw), KT moved into seventh place, half a game ahead of the Kiwoom Heroes (19 wins, 27 losses). Samsung (26 wins, 1 draw, 20 losses) lost its second straight game to fall into a tie for second place with the NC Dinos (26 wins, 20 losses). Rojas went 3-for-5 with a home run and two RBIs.

KT jumped out to an early lead in the top of the first inning. After back-to-back singles by Miguel Rojas Jr. and Kim Min-hyuk, Kang Baek-ho and Moon Sang-chul struck out, but Jang Sung-woo singled to right to bring Rojas home.

Samsung fought back in the bottom of the second. After a leadoff walk to Lee Jae-hyun, Oh Jae-il hit a double to right field. Musa advanced to second on a wild pitch. Kang Min-ho hit an RBI single to right field to tie the game at 1-1. After Kim Heon-gon singled, Kim Ji-chan hit a fly ball to center field, but Oh Jae-il was thrown out at home on a throwing error by the third baseman.

Samsung replaced shortstop Lee Jae-hyun with Kim Jae-sang due to a sore hamstring, and Kim Young-woong moved to shortstop. In the top of the third inning, starter Won Tae-in felt discomfort in his back after giving up a double to Kang Baek-ho and a single to Moon Sang-chul, and a trainer came to the mound. Won continued to pitch, but gave up two hits and two more runs. However, he didn’t collapse and lasted five innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and two walks.

Samsung’s leadoff hitter Kim Jae-sang reached on an infield single in the fourth inning, but Oh Jae-il struck out the side. KT, which had a solid five innings of one-run ball from starter Yook Cheong-myeong, scored runs in the seventh and eighth innings. The bullpen also did well in the sixth and seventh innings.

But Samsung, the team with the most come-from-behind wins (15), came from behind. With one out in the bottom of the eighth inning, three consecutive hits from pinch-hitters Kim Tae-hoon, Koo Ja-uk, and David McKinnon scored a run. KT manager Lee Kang-cheol brought in closer Park Young-hyun early, but it didn’t work. Samsung’s No. 4 hitter, Kim Young-woong, took a full-count curveball up the middle and sent it over the fence. The three-run home run (his 12th of the season) tied the game at 5-5.

Samsung answered back. In the top of the ninth, closer Oh Seung-hwan came on. He retired the top three hitters, Kang Baek-ho, Moon Sang-chul, and Jang Sung-woo, in order. Park Young-hyun pitched a scoreless ninth inning to send the game into extra innings.

KT scored the winning run in the 11th inning. Leadoff hitter Chun Sung-ho drew a walk and stole second base. Samsung requested a video review, but the call was not overturned. Rojas followed with a single up the middle. KT added two more runs on the next two outs, thanks to a grounder from Jang Sung-woo that Samsung third baseman Jeon Byung-woo missed. KT’s Son Dong-hyun came on in the 10th inning and pitched two scoreless innings to earn the win.

“Cheong-myung Yuk didn’t get the win, but he did his job as a starter. Son Dong-hyun, who pitched in the last inning, finished the game well with a scoreless inning in a tough situation. At the plate, Jang Jang-woo had a leadoff single followed by a run-scoring RBI single. Rojas also did his job well.”

“In the previous game, we had a lot of senior pitchers, so there was a lot of pressure to go the distance. This time, I went on the mound with the idea of just one inning.” “I learned a lot from the last game. I felt like I was finding my stuff. I lost the game, but I’m just grateful for the opportunity. I don’t want to win individually. I’m just happy that the team can start the week on a good note with a win today.”

Rojas said, “At first, when Chun Sung-ho walked, I focused on advancing him. But then a stolen base put him on second base, so I was focused on trying to get him to third or get him home. I was able to get the hit, and that’s even better,” Rojas said. “The most important thing is to get on base,” said Rojas, who has been batting first recently. I’ve been focusing on 안전놀이터 getting on base. That doesn’t mean I’m swinging passively. I feel like Baek-ho Kang is doing a good job, so I feel like I’m connecting with him.”

In Daejeon, the Hanwha Eagles defeated the LG Twins 8-4 for their second straight win. Ahn Chi-hong’s two-run shot in the first inning (his fifth of the season) and Kim Tae-yeon’s solo homer in the third (her fourth of the season) helped the Eagles defeat LG starter Casey Kelly (eight runs in five innings). Hanwha starter Moon Dong-ju earned the win in his first-team return, allowing one run on five hits and striking out four in five innings.

The last-place Lotte Giants defeated the first-place KIA Tigers 6-1. Starting pitcher Charlie Barnes dominated the KIA lineup with seven and two-thirds innings of five-hit, one-run ball. Jeon Mir pitched one and one-third perfect innings to earn his first career save.

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