The SK Wyverns defeated the Lotte Giants 6-3 on Monday to reach the championship final in South Korea's top baseball league.
For the Korea Baseball Organization crown, the Wyverns will battle the Samsung Lions, the defending champs, in the Korean Series starting Wednesday. The Wyverns will make their sixth straight trip to the Korean Series. They already set the KBO record for consecutive Korean Series appearances with five in 2011.
The Wyverns won the championship in 2007, 2008 and 2010.
The SK Wyverns` pitcher Jung Woo-ram (right) cheers with catcher Cho In-sung after their team beat the Lotte Giants 6-3 to reach the championship final on Monday in Incheon. (Yonhap News)
In the fifth game of the best-of-five series at Munhak Stadium, the home team Wyverns capitalized on the Giants' sloppy defense to erase an early 3-0 deficit. The Wyverns trailed two games to one in the series before taking the final two games.
SK's second baseman Jeong Keun-woo was voted the most valuable player of this round. He batted .444 in this series with three steals.
Park Jae-sang broke the 3-3 tie in the fifth for the Wyverns with a triple. The Wyverns then went ahead 5-3 later in the fifth on a defensive lapse by the Giants.
Catcher Kang Min-ho threw to second base to try to catch Choi Jeong stealing, but neither the shortstop Moon Kyu-hyun nor the second baseman Park Joon-seo covered the base. The throw rolled to center to allow Park Jae-sang trot home from third.
Pinch hitter Lee Jae-won made it 6-3 with a sacrifice fly in the seventh.
Right-hander Chei Byung-yong was credited with the win thanks to four shutout innings in relief. He gave up one hit and struck out five. Jung Woo-ram picked up the save with a perfect ninth.
Song Seung-jun took the loss after giving up two runs in 1 2/3 innings of relief work.
SK Wyverns players celebrate after coming from behind to win 6-3 at the Lotte Giants to reach the Korean Series on their home ground in Incheon on Monday. (Yonhap News)
The Giants charged out to a 3-0 lead in the top second, on a sacrifice fly by Moon Kyu-hyun and a pair of two-out RBI singles by Cho Sung-hwan and Hong Sung-heun.
The Wyverns got to within one in the bottom second, as pinch hitter Cho In-sung drove in two runs with a single to left center.
The home team pulled even in the bottom fourth, when second baseman Park Joon-seo missed a grounder to his right and allowed Park Jung-kwon to score from second.
The Giants had six hits in the first two innings, but their last hit of the game came with one out in the third.
Neither of the starters factored into the decision Monday. SK's Kim Kwang-hyun, who threw six strong innings to win the first game of the series last week, lasted only 1 2/3 innings on Monday. The left-hander struck out the side in the first but gave up five singles and committed a throwing error in the second.
Shane Youman wasn't much better for Lotte. He pitched 3 1/3 innings and allowed three earned runs on four hits.
The opening game of the Korean Series will be 6 p.m. Wednesday at Daegu Baseball Stadium. The Lions earned the bye to the Korean Series by virtue of having KBO's best regular season record. They last played on Oct. 6, the final day of the regular season. (Yonhap News)