The Doosan Bears knocked off the Nexen Heroes 11-9 on Wednesday to advance to the next stage in the South Korean baseball postseason.
In a wild finish, the Bears scored nine runs over their final three innings, capped off by a six-spot in the top of the ninth, as they erased an early 9-2 deficit to eliminate the Heroes in four games in their best-of-five first round series in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO).
It was the largest comeback in a KBO postseason game.
The Bears will next meet the NC Dinos, who had the bye to the second round after finishing second in the regular season. The Dinos will open the best-of-fives set in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province, at 2 p.m. Sunday.
This was the Heroes’ last home game at Mokdong Stadium in Seoul. They will move into Gocheok Sky Dome, also in the nation’s capital, next season.
Deibinson Romero put the Bears on board with an RBI double in the top second, and two batters later, Kim Jae-ho hit a single to make it 2-0 Bears.
The Heroes promptly erased the Bears’ lead in the bottom half, making it 2-2 on Brad Snyder’s groundout and a wild pitch by Doosan starter Lee Hyun-ho.
The Heroes put up three more runs in the fourth, thanks to Park Dong-won’s two-run double and Ko Jong-wook’s RBI single.
Nexen cleanup Park Byung-ho then launched a solo home run to start the fifth, putting the Heroes up 6-2.
Later in the same inning, Park Dong-won extended the Heroes’ lead with a two-run double to right-center.
The Heroes kept piling on, as Park Byung-ho’s one-out single in the sixth made it 9-2.
The Bears refused to go away. Kim Jae-ho hit a two-run single in the top seventh, and the Bears added another run to make it 9-5 Heroes in the eighth.
The Bears put two men on with two outs in the eighth, but Han Hyun-hee, the Heroes’ third pitcher, retired pinch hitter Hong Sung-heon on a grounder to short.
The Bears still had more life. They hit two singles to start the top of the ninth, chasing Han from the game.
Right-hander Cho Sang-woo, who’d thrown 23 pitches Tuesday, was summoned. He promptly gave up an RBI single to Hur Kyoung-min, cutting the Heroes’ lead to 9-6.
After a walk to pinch hitter Oh Jae-il, Kim Hyun-soo lined a single to right to make it 9-8. Then with runners at the corners, Yang Eui-ji launched a double to left-center to put the Bears ahead 10-9, with a bobble by left fielder Moon Woo-ram allowing both runners to cross the home plate.
Yang later scored the sixth run of the inning on a wild pitch.
For Doosan, No. 2 hitter Hur Kyoung-min went 4-for-5 and scored twice, while cleanup Kim Hyun-soo drove in three runs.
Nexen’s No. 9 hitter Park Dong-won drove in four runs in the losing cause.
Cho Sang-woo was slapped with the loss after allowing four runs three earned without recording an out. Oh Hyoun-taek got the win for the Bears with a scoreless inning of relief work.
Lee Hyun-seung, Doosan’s closer who picked up a win and two saves without allowing an earned run, was voted the MVP of the series.