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2017 Korean Series
The 2017 Korean Series was the 35th Korean Series. The Doosan Bears, champions in 2015 and 2016, faced the regular-season champs, the KIA Tigers. Doosan failed to three-peat, losing in five games to KIA. Hyeon-jong Yang was named Korean Series MVP, with a shutout win in Game 2 and a save in Game 5.
The Doosan Bears, managed by Tae-hyeong Kim, were 84-57-3 to finish second in the 2017 KBO then beat the NC Dinos 3 games to 1 in the playoffs in a rematch of last year's Series. They were second in the league in both runs (849) and fewest runs allowed (678). Kun-woo Park (.366/.424/.582, 91 R, 40 2B, 20 HR, 20 SB) was second in the league in average, Jae-hwan Kim (.340/.429/.603, 35 HR, 110 R, 115 RBI) was third in RBI and OBP, tied for third in homers and 4th in runs and Jae-il Oh hit .306/.378/.561, giving them the same basic offensive corp as 2016. Woon-joo Chang (14-9, 3.14) was second in ERA and tied for 4th in wins while 2016 MVP Dustin Nippert slumped to 14-8, 4.06 but still was second with 161 K and tied for 4th in wins. Yong-chan Lee (5-5, 22 Sv, 4.40) was 4th in saves but their top reliever was Kang-ryul Kim (7-2, 7 Sv, 3.44 in 70 G).
The KIA Tigers were guided by Ki-tae Kim and finished first in the regular season at 87-56-1. They dominated the league on offense, scoring 906 runs and hitting .302, while the pitching was merely okay (4.79 ERA ranking 5th). Sun-bin Kim (.370/.420/.477) won the batting title, Hyung-woo Choi (.342/.450/.576) led in OBP and was second with 120 RBI, Roger Bernadina (.320/.372/.540, 27 HR, 32 SB) led with 118 runs and Ji-wan Na (.301/.405/.534) hit 27 home runs and drove in 94. Hyeon-jong Yang (20-6, 3.44) tied for the win lead, was 3rd in K (158) and 5th in ERA as a bright spot on the staff; tying him for the win lead was staffmate Hector Noesi (20-5, 3.48).
- October 25: Bears 5, Tigers 3. South Korean President Jae-in Moon became the 5th president to throw a ceremonial first pitch in a Korean Series. Both teams went with their top import pitcher for the opener, Nippert vs. Noesi. Both pitched three shutout innings, then the Bears got to Noesi in the 4th. With one away, he walked LF Jae-hwan Kim and 1B Jae-il Oh. C Eui-ji Yang hit into an error by 2B Chi-hong An. Noesi struck out DH Si-hyeok Park but walked 2B Jae-won Oh to force in a run. In the 5th, Doosan exploded. RF Byung-hun Min reached to lead off. With one out, CF Kun-woo Park doubled him in (one of his three hits today). Jae-hwan Kim and Jae-il Oh then drilled back-to-back homers, the 8th time those had been hit in Korean Series history. KIA got all its run in the bottom of the inning. SS Sun-bin Kim got on base with one out and RF Myung-ki Lee reached, then CF Bernardina hit a three-run bomb with two outs. Deok-ju Ham and Kang-ryul Kim turned in three shutout innings in relief of Nippert to close out the win.
- October 26: Tigers 1, Bears 0. Game 2 was a pitching duel between Chang and Yang. Chang left after 7 shutout innings, having allowed four hits but five walks and having thrown 117 pitches, while Yang went the distance with a four-hit, 11-whiff gem for the 10th complete game shutout in Series history. In the 8th, Ham relieved Chang and KIA got to him. 1B Joo-chan Kim doubled and was bunted over by Bernardina. LF Hyung-woo Choi drew a walk, then DH Ji-wan Na grounded to 3B Kyoung-min Hur. Hur threw home and they had Joo-chan Kim in a roun-down, but he escaped to score the lone run of the game.
- October 28: Tigers 6, Bears 3. With action moving to Jamsil Baseball Stadium, KIA remained in control. In the top of the third, SS Sun-bin Kim singled off Michael Bowden, was bunted over and scored on a two-out double by LF Myung-ki Lee. In the 4th, DH Hyung-woo Choi and 3B Bum-ho Lee drew walks, Bowden balked and 2B Chi-hong An rapped a two-run single. In the bottom of the inning, C Eui-ji Yang hit a sacrifice fly off Pat Dean to score LF Jae-hwan Kim and make it 3-1. KIA got the run back in the 5th. Myung-ki Lee doubled and was bunted over by 1B Joo-chan Kim. RF Bernadina singled off reliever Yong-chan Lee for a 4-1 edge. Doosan again made it a game, though. In the 7th, DH Nick Evans took Dean deep. Then, in the 8th, RF Byung-hun Min singled for his third hit and 2B Jae-won Oh drew a walk, chasing Dean in favor of 41-year-old Chang-yong Lim, who retired CF Kun-woo Park. Dong-seop Shim came in next but Jae-hwan Kim singled off him to make it 4-3 with two on board. Shim retired 1B Jae-il Oh, then KIA turned to their fourth hurler of the frame, Se-hyun Kim, who got Yang on a fly. In the 9th, Sun-bin Kim singled and PH Ji-wan Na hit a two-out homer off Kang-ryul Kim for key insurance in a 6-3 win. Se-hyun Kim went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 9th.
- October 29: Tigers 5, Bears 1. The Tigers again took control early. 1B Joo-chan Kim hit a one-out double in the top of the first off Hee-kwan Yoo and CF Bernadina tripled to right. DH Hyung-woo Choi singled in Bernadina and KIA had all the runs that sidearm hurler Gi-yeong Im would need. Im would not allow a run in 5 2/3 IP, scattering six hits while fanning six. In the 7th, KIA got some more runs. 3B Bum-ho Lee singled and was bunted over. SS Sun-bin Kim walked. With two outs, Joo-chan Kim hit into an error by SS Jae-ho Kim to score PR Jang-hyeok Ko. Ham relieved but allowed a RBI single to Bernadina to make the score 4-0. In the 8th, Doosan avoided a shutout loss as LF Jae-hwan Kim drew a walk from Hyo-jun Ko and came around to score later when DH Evans singled off Chang-yong Lim. Se-hyun Kim came in to get the last out of the frame and would get the save while battling a five-batter 9th. In the top of the 9th, KIA had gotten one more run when Joo-chan Kim hit into a fielder's choice to score Sun-bin Kim.
- October 30: Tigers 7, Bears 6. KIA looked to roll to victory by jumping to a 7-0 edge before Doosan put up a challenge, only to fall. In the top of the third, RF Myung-ki Lee singled off Nippert and was bunted over. CF Bernadina singled him home and LF Hyung-woo Choi and DH Ji-wan Na both reached to load the bases. After Nippert got an out, 3B Bum-ho Lee hit the 4th grand slam in Korean Series history for a 5-0 lead. In the top of the 6th, they got what would be two critical runs. C Min-sik Kim reached and was driven in by SS Sun-bin Kim. Ham relieved Nippert and threw a wild pitch, then Myung-ki Lee singled to make it 7-0. The defending champs finally got to Noesi in the bottom of the 7th and in a big way, scoring six times off him and two relievers. Yun-dong Kim went 1-2-3 in the 8th for KIA and Ki-tae Kim turned to game 2 starter Hyeong-jong Yang to try to close it out. He began by walking LF Jae-hwan Kim. With one out, PH Soo-haeng Joo bunted into a two-base error by Joo-hyung Kim, who had replaced Bum-ho Lee as a defensive sub at third base. Yang intentionally walked 3B Hur to load the bases. Backup C Sei-hyok Park flew out and backup SS Jae-ho Kim popped up to end the threat as KIA won its 11th title.
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