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By Yoo Jee-ho
SUWON, South Korea, Nov. 11 (Yonhap) — The LG Twins destroyed the KT Wiz 15-4 in Game 4 of the Korean Series on Saturday, reaching the brink of their first Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) championship in 29 years.
Twins starter Kim Yun-sik held the Wiz to a run over 5 2/3 innings, while Kim Hyun-soo, Moon Bo-gyeong and Oh Ji-hwan each blasted a home run to back the left-hander at KT Wiz Park in Suwon, just south of Seoul.
Kim Hyun-soo also had an RBI single in the seventh. With three RBIs on Saturday, Kim climbed to the top of the all-time postseason RBI leaderboard with 45.
The Twins, who erupted for 17 hits, have now won three straight games after dropping the opener of this best-of-seven series. They can clinch their first title since 1994 with a win in Game 5 at their home, Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Monday.
In the history of the Korean Series, dating to 1982, a team has gone up 3-1 on 16 occasions. And only the 2013 Doosan Bears blew that advantage and failed to win the title in that scenario.
“Yun-sik pitched much better than expected, and he did his job as the starter,” Twins manager Youm Kyoung-youb said. “Hyun-soo’s two-run home run set the tone early, and we were able to build on that momentum. It allowed the rest of the lineup to be more aggressive.”
The first three games were all decided by one run, and the winning team scored the decisive runs, either breaking a tie or erasing a deficit, in the eighth or ninth inning.
As the top seed, the Twins have the home field advantage. Even if they don’t finish the job in Game 5, they will have the next two games at home on Tuesday and Wednesday.
With the Twins on the verge of ending a long drought, Youm said the entire team is “desperate” to finish the job Monday.
“I think luck has been on our side, too,” Youm added. “But you just never know in baseball. We’ll have to be well prepared for Game 5.”
Wiz manager Lee Kang-chul said all it takes is one more win and his team will be right back in the series.
“In the previous series, we rallied after losing the first two games and still took that series in five games,” Lee said of the Wiz’s reverse sweep of the NC Dinos. “We will take it one game at a time from here and on.”
After rallying with three runs in the top of the ninth inning for an 8-7 win Friday night, the Twins picked up where they left off in the top of the first Saturday.
With a runner on, Kim Hyun-soo lifted a 1-0 changeup from starter Um Sang-back and put it over the right field wall for the two-run homer, giving the Twins a 2-0 lead.
Um settled down to keep the Twins off the board for the next three frames, though he did give up two hits in the second inning. His counterpart, Kim Yun-sik, was even better in the early going, retiring the first nine batters he faced before walking Bae Jung-dae to start the bottom fourth.
Bae stole second to get himself into scoring position but was stranded when Kim retired the next three batters. Kim struck out cleanup Park Byung-ho for the second straight time.
Um got the hook after walking Moon Sung-ju to open the top fifth, and reliever Kim Jae-yoon later gave up an RBI single to Hong Chang-ki that made it 3-0 Twins.
The Wiz didn’t get their first hit off Kim until Moon Sang-chul’s singe with one out in the fifth, but Kim got two quick outs to nip that rally in the bud.
The Twins gave Kim even more breathing room in the sixth, as Moon Bo-gyeong launched a two-run home run off Kim Jae-yoon to open up a 5-0 lead.
The Wiz showed some life in the bottom sixth, when Kim Sang-su hit a double off Kim Yun-sik and Hwang Jae-gyun cashed him in with a single to cut it to 5-1.
That was it for Kim, and reliever Baek Seung-hyeon got the final two outs of the inning.
The Twins then put the game out of reach with an explosive seventh inning, when they batted around to put up a seven-spot thanks to a Korean Series-record eight consecutive hits. Those eight hits overall were also a Korean Series record for the most in one inning.
Kim Hyun-soo picked up his third RBI with a one-out single that restored a five-run cushion at 6-1. Two batters later, Oh Ji-hwan smoked his second three-run home run in as many days to open up a 9-1 lead.
Oh now has a team-high three home runs in four games this series. He became the first player to homer in three straight games in the same Korean Series.
Moon Sung-ju’s triple brought home two more runners for an 11-1 advantage, while Shin Min-jae’s groundout scored Moon to make it 12-1 Twins.
The Twins tacked on three more runs in the eighth for a 15-1 lead.
The Wiz scored two inconsequential runs in the bottom eighth and another in the ninth.
For the Twins, Oh went 2-for-3 with four RBIs and scored three times, while Moon Bo-gyeong had three hits and three RBis.