The NC Dinos continued their six-game winning streak in fall baseball in 2023 and took another step toward qualifying for the Korean Series (KS).
NC held off a late rally by KT Wiz to win 3-2 in Game 2 of the KBO Playoffs (PO) at the Shinhan Bank SOL 2023 at Katie Wiz Park in Suwon on Nov. 31.
Shin Min-hyuk pitched well, Park Geon-woo hit a home run, and Kim Joo-won made a diving catch to end the game.
NC, which swept the first and second games of the best-of-five PO, will return to the KS stage for the first time in three years after winning the title in 2020.
There have been 17 times in the history of best-of-five POs that a team has won both the first and second games, punching their ticket to KS 15 times (88.2%).
NC also set a pleasant record.
With their nine-game postseason (PS) winning streak from Game 4 of the 2020 KS to Game 2 of this year’s PO, they tied the KBO’s longest PS winning streak, which the Hattae Tigers achieved from Game 4 of the 1987 PO to Game 3 of the 1988 KS.
With a win in Game 3 of the PO on Nov. 2 at Changwon NC Park, NC will become the first team in the KBO to win 10 consecutive PS games.
NC, which finished the regular season in fourth place and reached the PO through the wild-card deciding game (1 win) and semi-playoffs (3 wins), extended its single-season PS winning streak to six games with wins in Games 1 and 2 of the PO.
The record for the longest single PS winning streak is the Hyundai Unicorns’ 7-game winning streak from PO Game 1 to KS Game 3 in 2000. NC is one win shy of that record.
NC starter Shin Min-hyuk was the key to the victory in Game 2 of the PO.
Shin threw 6⅓ innings of one-hit ball with one strikeout and no walks.
After failing to pick up a win in Game 1 of the semifinals against SSG Landers despite throwing 5⅔ innings of four-hit shutout ball, Shin went the distance in Game 2 and got some help from his bats to record his first PS win.
Shin was also named the Daily MVP of Game 2 of the POs and received a prize of 1 million won.
NC scored first in the top of the first inning when Park Min-woo singled up the middle, and Park took a 139-kilometer-per-hour cut fastball from KT starter Wes Benjamin and launched it over the wall behind the left-field bleachers for a 130-meter long-range two-run shot.
NC has homered in all six PS games this year.
Park’s PS home run, his first since joining NC and the third of his career, was the game-winner in Game 2 of the PO.
NC had a chance to score in the top of the third inning when leadoff hitter Kim Joo-won hit a triple to center field. The next batter, Son As-seop, hit a grounder that KT first baseman Park Byung-ho flicked behind the plate, giving NC a 3-0 lead. It was an unfortunate error by Byung-ho Park, who was trying to throw home.
The KT bats managed just one hit while Shin Min-hyuk was on the mound.
Moon Sang-chul’s double to left field in the bottom of the second inning was the only hit KT had against Shin on the day.
After dominating the KT bats with his changeup and cutter, Shin gave up a walk to Anthony Alford with one out in the bottom of the seventh. The next batter, Park Byung-ho, induced a grounder in front of the third baseman, but second baseman Park Min-woo failed to catch the throw from third baseman Seo Ho-chul, leaving Shin with runners on first and second.
NC manager Kang Myung-hwa removed Shin Min-hyuk, who had done his job 100%, from the mound and brought in Ryu Jin-wook.
Ryu struck out Jang Jang-woo with a 147-kilometer per hour fastball, ending the inning without a run.
KT scored two runs in the bottom of the eighth on a sacrifice fly to center field by Oh Yoon-seok and a single to center field by Kim Sang-soo, and had runners on first and third in the bottom of the ninth. However, Moon Sang-chul and pinch-hitter Kim Jun-tae struck out.
Lee Yong-chan skipped the plate with an intentional walk and faced Oh Yoon-seok with the bases loaded.
Oh Yoon-seok took advantage of Yoo’s forked ball and sent the ball between the third baseman and shortstop. KT was hoping for a tying or game-winning hit.
However, NC shortstop Kim Joo-won leaped for it and the ball settled in his glove before it hit the ground. It was the moment when NC’s victory in the second game of the PO was confirmed. 파워볼사이트