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Bears edge out Heroes to conclude KBO preseason

With two go-ahead runs in the chaotic fifth inning, the Doosan Bears squeezed past the Kiwoom Heroes 2-1 to close out the Korea Baseball Organization preseason Tuesday.

The Heroes wasted little time getting on the board in the bottom of the first. Kim Hye-seong led off the game with a triple and scored on a wild pitch by Doosan starter Kim Dong-ju.

The Bears tied the score in the top fifth with Jung Soo-bin’s sacrifice fly and then took the 2-1 lead on a bizarre series of plays.

With a runner at first, the Heroes played a shift on the pull-happy left-handed batter Jose Rojas, with second baseman Kim Hye-seong moving into the outfield grass in the shallow right field and third baseman Kim Whee-jip taking the usual second baseman’s spot.

Rojas hit a hard grounder to the hole and beat Kim Hye-seong’s throw for the infield single.

The lead runner, Kim Dae-han, reached second on the play and then alertly took off for third base with nobody covering the bag. A foot race ensued between Kim and shortstop Addison Russell. Catcher Lee Ji-young rushed to third base to take a throw from first baseman Song Sung-mun, who missed his target badly and allowed Kim to score.

Left fielder Im Ji-yeol picked up the ball in the foul territory and airmailed his throw home, though even an accurate throw wouldn’t have beaten Kim. Rojas advanced to third amid the chaos.

The Heroes loaded the bases with one out in the bottom fifth, but Russell bounced into a 5-3 double play to kill that rally.

Both starters got in five innings of work. Kim Dong-ju, who will pitch in the back of the depleted Bears rotation early in the season, gave up a run on five hits, while striking out five and walking four.

Kim threw the four-seam fastball, slider and forkball. He finished the preseason with a 7.84 ERA.

Jurado, slated to be No. 3 starter behind aces An Woo-jin and Eric Jokisch, gave up two runs, but both were unearned. He scattered six hits and struck out four. Jurado didn’t give up an earned run in 12 preseason innings across three outings. He had 15 strikeouts against two walks.

Jurado touched 150 kilometers per hour with his four-seam fastball and also mixed in the curveball, changeup, cutter and two-seam fastball.

Source: Yonhap News Agency