A ‘nightmare seventh inning’ and a bullpen collapse that hurt more than a fourth straight loss


It was literally the top of the seventh inning of a nightmare. A bullpen collapse sent the Kiwoom Heroes into a four-game losing streak.

Kiwoom fell to 5-6 in a home game against the Lotte Giants of the 2023 KBO Baseball League at the Gocheok SkyDome in Guro-gu, Seoul on Sunday.

Things were certainly not looking good in the middle innings. Kiwoom’s bats were tied up against starter Charlie Barnes, but Choi Won-tae, who also took the mound, effectively shut down the Lotte bats to keep things close.

Kiwoom’s Kim Jae-woong delivers an infield single to Noh Jin-hyuk in the top of the seventh inning against Gocheok Lotte on July 27. Photo (Gocheok Seoul) by Chun Jeong-hwan
But in the top of the seventh inning with Choi Won-tae off the mound, Kiwoom’s nightmare began. Kiwoom turned to left-hander Kim Jae-woong as their second pitcher. Kim Jae-woong is currently Kiwoom’s most reliable bullpen resource, with head coach Hong Won-ki saying before the game, “If it’s a critical situation, he can go out in the seventh inning.”

However, Kim Jae-woong did not live up to his manager’s expectations. He got the first batter he faced, pinch-hitter Yoon Dong-hee, to fly out to center field, but gave up an infield single to Noh Jin-hyuk. He then gave up a single to left to Han Dong-hee, putting runners on first and second, and finally gave up a single to Yoo Kang-nam in right-center field.

Kim Jae-woong couldn’t settle down. The next batter, Ahn Kwon-soo, gave up a double to left-center field. Kiwoom immediately brought in right-handed sidearm Kim Dong-hyuk.

However, he was unable to stop the firepower of the Lotte bats. After Ahn Kwon-soo doubled and Kim Min-seok walked, the bases were loaded for Park Seung-wook, who lined a single to left field. He then gave up an infield single to Jeon Jun-woo that hit him in the body and trickled toward the second baseman.

The ordeal continued. Kim Dong-hyuk, who walked the메이저놀이터 next batter, Ahn Chi-hong, gave up a single to left to Yoon Dong-hee with runners on first and second. Kim Jun-hyung, who took the mound next, induced Noh Jin-hyuk to fly out to second base to end the inning, but all too soon, six runs had been surrendered. It was a very disappointing moment considering that the Kiwoom bats were silent until the bottom of the ninth inning, when they scored five runs.

Kiwoom’s trusted bullpen failed them. The result was heartbreaking. With their fourth straight loss, Kiwoom fell to 28 losses (19 wins) and remained in eighth place.

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