Heroes take first on opening weekend with 8-way tie for second
The Kiwoom Heroes rose to the top of the KBO on opening weekend, sweeping the Hanwha Eagles to send the Daejeon club to tenth place while every other team shares second.
The Heroes had to work past to earn the only sweep of the weekend, inching past the Eagles 3-2 on Saturday in extra innings and edging out Sunday’s game 7-6 with a walk-off at the bottom of the ninth.
The win puts the Heroes in first place with two games down and 142 still to go, while the Eagles, the KBO’s perennial bottom feeders in recent years, head straight back down to last place with the newly season only just having started.
Every other team split the two-game weekend series, creating an eight-team tie for second place.
The reigning champion SSG Landers won their opening game against the Kia Tigers 4-1 at Incheon SSG Landers Field in Incheon. Veteran slugger Choo Shin-soo got things started in that game, knocking a big fly over the fence in the first inning for officially the very first home run of the 2023 KBO season.
The Kia Tigers — despite wrestling with some serious off-the-field drama with general manager Jang Jung-suk fired last week after being accused of requesting a bribe during contract negotiations with a former player last year — came back on Sunday to beat the Landers 9-5, splitting the series with a game apiece.
Over in Jamsil, southern Seoul, the Doosan Bears beat the Lotte Giants 12-10 in a high-scoring 11-inning game, with new outfielder Jose Rojas slamming a walk-off three-run homer over the wall at the bottom of the 11th to give the Bears the win.
The Giants got their own back on Sunday, breaking a classic pitcher’s duel with two runs in the seventh to take a 2-0 win. Splitting the series at two games each, the Bears and Giants tie with the Landers and Tigers in second place.
The KT Wiz got off to a confident start in Suwon, Gyeonggi, capitalizing on a big five-run ninth inning to beat the LG Twins 11-6 with home runs from Kang Baek-ho and Anthony Alford.
The Twins narrowly trumped the Wiz on Sunday, winning 10-9 in another tight game that also went to extra innings, with the Seoul side finally breaking the deadlock at the top of the 11th inning.
With another split series, both the Twins and the Wiz join the Landers, Tigers, Bears and Giants in second place.
The NC Dinos and Samsung Lions, playing in Daegu over the weekend, are the final two sides to make it to second place.
The Dinos took the opening game with the most decisive win of the weekend, beating the Lions 8-0 with four runs each in the third and eighth inning. The Lions returned the favor on Sunday, coming from behind to win 8-6.
The KBO returns Tuesday for the first full week of the new season. All five home sides from weekend stay at home for the midweek series, with the Giants traveling to Incheon to face the Landers, the Twins playing the Heroes at Gocheok Sky Dome in western Seoul, the Bears hosting the Dinos at Jamsil, the Tigers facing the Wiz in Suwon and the Eagles and Lions facing off in Daegu. 안전놀이터
Those home teams will head on the road over the weekend, as the Lions travel to Jamsil to take on the Twins, the Wiz head south to face the Giants at Sajik Baseball Stadium in Busan, the Heroes visit the Dinos in Changwon, South Gyeongsang, the Bears head to Gwangju to face the Tigers and the Landers visit Daejeon to face the Eagles.