Kia’s best bullpen hidden card, Jeong Hae-young, is gone, and so is the Tigers’ first-place lead. Now it’s a clean slate. The Kia Tigers lost 5-7 to the Doosan Bears in their 2024 Shinhan SOL Bank KBO League home game at Kia Champions Field in Gwangju on April 24. With a season record of 30 wins, two draws, and 21 losses (0.588 winning percentage), second-place Doosan moved within four games of first-place KIA (29 wins, one draw, and 20 losses – 0.592 winning percentage) without a loss.

It wasn’t an easy game. Doosan starter Kwak Bin shut down the Kia bats, using a heavy fastball that topped 150 kilometers per hour and a big drop curveball to strike out eight and walk three over seven innings.

But the real drama came in the eighth inning. The Kia bats took aim at Kim. Choi Hyung-woo singled up the middle with runners on first and second, and Lee Woo-sung followed with a three-run arch over the left-center field fence on a 149-kilometer-per-hour fastball. Even Socrates Brito, who has been talked about for his recent poor hitting, scooped up a low fastball from Doosan’s third pitcher, Choi Ji-kang, and launched a solo shot over the right field wall to give KIA a 5-3 lead.

However, Doosan struck again. Yang Ji-hyun took Jung Jung-young’s slider straight for a two-run homer to left-center field.

Kia removed Jung Jung-young from the mound, and with the bases loaded after Yang’s hit, Kim Jae-hwan drove an outside pitch off Kia’s Jang Hyun-sik for a game-winning two-run 스포츠토토 arch to left-center. Kim Jae-hwan followed up his solo shot in the third inning with a two-run blast, his second of the day.

Kia has been in a tough spot lately. Without mercenary Will Crowe, they’re feeling the strain. However, there is still a long way to go before a new mercenary arrives. In addition, the bullpen is exhausted from playing so many close games. How Jeong Jung-young performs in this situation will be crucial for KIA. Jung hadn’t pitched in any of the last three games against Lotte. And in his last appearance, which came five days later, he turned heads with a blown save.

Kia will try to turn things around with Yang Hyun-jong. But for Doosan, it’s Brandon. Kia is facing its biggest crisis of the season.

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