Kim Ji-yeol’s first career grand slam in the eighth inning of the fifth game of the season against the Lotte Giants at Gocheok Sky Dome on April 28 gave Kiwoom a dramatic 7-5 victory and snapped a four-game losing streak.
Trailing 2-5 in the bottom of the eighth inning, Kiwoom pulled off an unbelievable comeback.
Edison Russell led off with a single 스포츠토토to right off veteran Kim Sang-soo, Lotte’s third reliever. Lim Byung-wook singled to right-center and Lee Won-seok followed with a hard-hit infield single to third to load the bases, and Kim Dong-heon followed with a sacrifice fly to center to cut the deficit to 3-5 and two runs.
With runners on first and second, Kim Hwi-jip singled to right-center to load the bases again, prompting Lotte to remove Kim Sang-soo and bring in Yoon Myung-joon. Yoon struck out Lee Hyung-joon to end the threat.
However, in the seventh inning, Im Ji-yeol, who pinch-hit for designated hitter Kim Jun-wan and drew a walk, had a chance to tie the game. Lim swung at a changeup from Yoon Myung-jun and, on a two-ball, one-strike count, took a 140-kilometer fastball low in the zone and smashed a 125-meter arch over the fence in the middle of the Gocheok SkyDome, the farthest from the fence.
After his season-ending three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning against the NC Dinos of Gocheok on May 12, when the Dinos were trailing 4-3, Lim became a “hero within a hero” by hitting his third home run of the season and first career grand slam. It was the ninth home run in the KBO this season.
Lotte was led by starter Na Gyun-ahn, who pitched six innings of five-hit ball with two walks and nine strikeouts, but a bullpen misfire cost him his sixth win of the season.
It was the second straight game that the bullpen struggled for Lotte, who had narrowly escaped with a win the previous day after scoring six runs in the seventh inning and then giving up five runs in the bottom of the ninth. It will be interesting to see what impact the loss will have, especially as Lotte heads into the final midweek game of May with a three-game series at home against the top-ranked LG Twins.