“Aggressive baserunning that goes one base further is our identity.”

Playing outside the box is always a risk. It can be hailed as a fresh, off-the-wall play, but if it fails, it’s hard to avoid criticism for being reckless. This is especially true if you’re not a player who is usually quick on his feet and agile.

안전놀이터The Lotte Giants will play the second game of their weekend series against the KIA Tigers at Sajik Stadium in Busan on the 12th.

The previous day, Lotte’s Noh Jin-hyuk attempted a home run with two outs.

One inning later, Jeong Hoon, who walked, made a surprise steal. It was his first stolen base of the year. Kim Min-seok then hit a ball that deflected off the glove of KIA third baseman Kim Do-young for an RBI single.

The next batter, Noh Jin-hyuk, followed with a bunt that caught the opposing shift off-guard, and a single by Son Sung-bin and an error by the KIA defence gave Lotte one more run to make it 5-1.

Yoon Dong-hee struck out and Ahn Chi-hong walked to load the bases in the bottom of the sixth. Outside hitter Niko Goodrum was standing at the plate. Kim Tae-gun threw out second baseman Son Sung-bin, who had a big lead.

Meanwhile, Noh Jin-hyuk drove in a run. However, Kia’s Park Chan-ho was quick on his feet and threw him out at home to end the inning.

Lotte manager Larry Sutton said, “Noh Jin-hyuk’s lead wasn’t bad (big). He saw the catcher throw to second base and ran home. It was a play aimed at the gap where the ball thrown to second base had to come back home.”

Lotte’s Noh Jin-hyuk batting. Photo by Song Jeong-heon 기자songs@sportschosun.com/2023.08.08/
“Their defence did a good job. It was two outs and Goodrum’s batting hasn’t been great lately. It was worth taking a risk and going for the extra run.” It didn’t happen, but Sutton’s penchant for awarding points for the ‘try’ itself.

“It was a smart play by a veteran to take advantage of the situation,” he said of the bunt by Noh, who had been in a batting slump.

“He took advantage of a loophole in the opposition’s defence to get a valuable run. Later on (in the eighth inning), the ball came out on an attempted safety squeeze, and he followed it up with a sacrifice fly. My hitting is getting better and better.”

Seventh-place Lotte moved to within one and a half games of sixth-place KIA with the win the previous day. They have a -4 win-loss margin and are four games behind the fifth-place Doosan Bears.

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