2014 Korean Series
The 2014 Korean Series was the 32nd Korean Series. It took place late in the year due to a two-week break in the KBO due to the 2014 Asian Games (hosted by South Korea, which sent their top stars and won the Gold Medal). The Samsung Lions became the second team to win four straight titles, following the Haitai Tigers of the late 1980s. Yamaico Navarro was named Korean Series MVP, the first foreign player to win in 13 years; Navarro hit four home runs to tie a Series record and also drove in 10.
The Nexen Heroes, managed by Kyung-yeop Yeom, were playing in their first Korean Series. Keon-chang Seo (.370/.438/.547, 41 2B, 17 3B, 135 R, 48 SB) led the 2014 KBO in doubles, triples, average and runs and was 4th in OBP. Jung-ho Kang (.356/.459/.739, 103 R, 40 HR, 117 RBI) was second in OBP, 4th in average, 5th in runs, third in RBI and second in homers (setting a KBO record for shortstops). Byung-ho Park (.303/.433/.686, 52 HR, 126 R, 124 RBI) led in homers and RBI, was second in runs and was 5th in OBP. Andy Van Hekken (20-6, 3.51, 178 K) led the league in wins, was second in whiffs and third in ERA while Henry Sosa (10-2, 4.61) had the best winning percentage. Sang-woo Cho (6-2, 2.47), Hyun-hee Han (4-2, 2 Sv, 3.20) and Seung-lak Son (3-5, 4.33, a league-best 32 Sv) were the top relievers. They had finished second in the regular season (78-48-2) and topped the LG Twins 3 games to 1 in the playoffs.
The Samsung Lions, managed by Jung-il Ryu, had won the 2011 Korean Series, 2012 Korean Series and 2013 Korean Series then finished with the best regular-season record in 2014 (78-47-3). They had numerous offensive stars: Hyung-woo Choi (.356/.426/.649, 4th in slugging, 5th in average), Seung-yeop Lee (.308/.397/.520, 4th with 32 HR, 5th with 101 RBI), Yamaico Navarro (.308/.417/.552, 3rd with 118 runs, 5th with 31 HR and tied for first with 96 walks), Seok-min Park (.315/.419/.601, 5th in slugging) and Sang-soo Kim (.288/.354/.407, a league-best 53 SB). Rick van den Hurk (13-4, 3.18) led the league in ERA and strikeouts (180) and tied for 4th in wins while Ji-man An (6-3, 27 Sv, 3.75) was their top reliever.
- November 4: Nexen 4, Samsung 2. The Heroes won their first Korean Series game thanks to Jung-ho Kang's hitting. They only had 3 hits in 6 innings off van den Hurk but made the most of them. In the top of the third, 2B Keon-chang Seo had a stand-up triple then scored on a double by LF Vinny Rottino. With one out, SS Jung-ho Kang hit a sacrifice fly to score Rottino. In the bottom of the third, the Lions tied it against Van Hekken on a walk to SS Sang-soo Kim and a dinger by 2B Navarro, the first foreigner to homer in a Korean Series in 8 years (Jay Davis in 2006). The two aces with van in their surnames then settled down before turning things over to their bullpens. In the 8th, 1B Byung-ho Park reached for Samsung against Woo-chan Cha then Jung-ho Kang homered for his third straight postseason game (one shy of the KBO record) for the winning blow; he was named game MVP. Sang-woo Cho got the win over Cha thanks to two perfect relief innings while Seung-lak Son notched the save.
- November 5: Samsung 7, Nexen 1. Samsung went on a rampage against Sosa, with 6 hits, 2 walks and 6 runs in 2 2/3 IP. In the first, 2B Navarro doubled and scored on a one-out double by 1B Tae-in Chae. The next inning, CF Hae-min Park walked and Navarro hit a two-out home run. In the third, DH Seung-yeop Lee homered with a man aboard to make it 5-0, his 14th postseason home run, breaking a tie with Tyrone Woods for the career record. Navarro finished 3 for 4 with a steal, 3 runs, double and homer. Nexen's only run off Seung-hwan Yoon in 7 innings came on a homer by 1B Byung-ho Park; Ji-man An and Chang-yong Lim each tossed a shutout inning of relief. Samsung RF Han-lee Park tied the Korean Series record with three walks in a game. PH Kab-yong Jin doubled in the 7th for the Lions, becoming the oldest player to get a hit in a Korean Series game (40 years, 5 months, 28 days).
- November 7: Samsung 3, Nexen 1. At Mokdong Stadium, the Lions rallied to go up 2 games to 1. Jae-young Oh (Nexen) and Won-sam Jang (Samsung) engaged in a pitching duel, with Oh tossing five innings of two-hit ball and Jang allowed three hits and one run in 6 1/3. A solo homer by LF Rottino in the 5th put Nexen ahead. Sang-woo Cho followed Oh with 1 2/3 shutout innings and closer Seung-lak Son finished the 7th. Jang was relieved by Ji-man An, who tossed 1 2/3 shutout frames. In the 8th, Son allowed the tying run when LF Hyung-woo Choi reached and DH Seung-yeop Lee drove him in. In the top of the 9th, 2B Navarro drew a two-out walk from Hyun-hee Han. RF Han-lee Park, the 2013 Korean Series MVP, came through with a two-run homer to win it; he was named game MVP. Chang-yong Lim tossed a 1-2-3 bottom of the 9th.
- November 8: Nexen 9, Samsung 3. Van Hekken got the call on short rest and excelled, tossing perfect ball for six innings before allowing a homer to 2B Navarro in the 7th. Meanwhile, Nexen was crushing J.D. Martin, Young-soo Bae and four relievers, who combined to allow nine runs. RF Han-joon Yoo homered twice and drove in five and CF Taek-keun Lee also went deep for the Heroes.
- November 10: Samsung 2, Nexen 1. Game 5 was another pitching duel, this time between van den Hurk (5 H, 0 BB, 5 K, 1 R in 7 IP) for the Lions and Sosa (4 H, 3 BB, 0 R, 7 K in 6 1/3 IP) for the Heroes. In the 6th, 2B Keon-chang Seo drove in LF Han-do Park for the only Nexen run off the tall Dutch hurler. Sosa was replaced by Sang-woo Cho, who escaped a jam in the 7th but then loaded the bases with none out in the 8th. Nexen turned to closer Seung-lak Son, who got out of trouble that frame. In the 9th, though, Son allowed 2B Navarro and 1B Tae-in Chae to reach; with two outs, LF Hyung-woo Choi hit a two-run double for Samsung's second dramatic victory in three games.
- November 11: Samsung 11, Nexen 1. Seung-hwan Yoon again tossed a gem, allowing only three hits and one run in six, and he again got plenty of offensive support. In the third, 1B Tae-in Chae hit a two-run single off Jae-young Oh to open the scoring; LF Hyung-woo Choi followed with a two-run double off Sung-hyun Moon for a 4-0 score. 2B Navarro cracked a 3-run homer in the 6th, his 4th homer of the Series to tie the record set by Tyrone Woods in 2001; Navarro finished with 5 RBI. Nexen stars Byung-ho Park and Jung-ho Kang finished the Series just 4 for 41 with four RBI.
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