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Aug '21 02

Tokyo 2020, Game 8: Korea’s Kim Erases Francisco’s Moon Shot in Walk-Off

Olympics Comments Off on Tokyo 2020, Game 8: Korea’s Kim Erases Francisco’s Moon Shot in Walk-Off

Wrap and images courtesy of WBSC. 

Hyun-Soo Kim hit a laser to right field to cap off a three-run rally in the bottom of the eighth to give world No. 3 South Korea a 4-3 walk-off win over No. 7 Dominican Republic in the knockout stage of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Baseball tournament Sunday night at Yokohama Stadium. Juan Francisco‘s titanic two-run shot had given the D.R. a 3-1 lead through four, but South Korea’s own big league veteran secured the victory in the final frame.

Korean starter Eui-lee Lee allowed the first run of the game before recording the first out of the contest. Consecutive singles by Emilio Bonifacio and Melky Cabrera put quickly runners in the corners, and Bonifacio scored on a wild pitch. Lee got himself out of trouble with strikeouts to Julio Rodríguez and José Bautista, and a fly ball by Juan Francisco.

In the home half of the first, Korea loaded the bases with no outs, thanks to a single, a double and a walk from their first three batters: Hae-Min Park, Baekho Kang and Jung-Hoo Lee. A sacrifice fly by catcher and clean-up hitter Euiji Yang to right field tied the game at one. Dominican starter Raul Valdez struck out the next two batters to limit the damage.

In the top of the fourth with a runner on base, Juan Francisco crushed a Lee pitch and watched it hit off the scoreboard in center field. Francisco’s monster bomb was his team’s first home run of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Dominican starter Valdez used 111 pitches to toss 5.1 innings, giving up seven hits and one run, while striking out five with three walks. Righty Denyi Reyes got two outs in the sixth, while Dario Álvarez and José Diaz pitched clean seventh and eighth innings to hold the two-run lead and leave the game in the hands of Luis Castillo, who collected the save in Friday’s Dominican Republic win over Mexico.

However, the right-hander couldn’t secure the win. He gave up a leadoff single to pinch hitter Joh-Wan Choi, and Hae-Min Park reduced the deficit to one run with an RBI single to left field. Jung-Hoo Lee tied the game with a double to the left and finally, one out later, Hyun-Soo Kim delivered the game-winning single to right field.

The winning pitcher was Seunghwan Oh, the fifth Korean reliever in the game, who tossed a six-pitch perfect ninth. Korea will meet Israel on Monday at noon (JST) in the quarterfinals. The Dominican Republic will continue play in the loser’s bracket, awaiting the loser of the game between Korea and Israel.

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