Samsung veteran Joon-hyuk Yang swatted the 350th homer of his 17-year career last Tuesday night in Daegu, but the Lions still lost a 14-9 slugfest to the Doosan Bears in a Korea Baseball Organization game.
The 40-year-old Yang walloped his three-run shot off Bears start Jae-woo Lee in the first inning. Yang, who has eleven homers this year, has never won a single-season home run title and has never hit more than 23 dingers in a year. Even so, Yang is the only KBO player ever to top 300 career homers, although SK Wyverns catcher Kyung-oan Park is knocking on the door at 299. Not just a swing-for-the-fences slugger, Yang is a career .318 hitter over 2,059 games since his 1993 debut (including a .326 average this year). He played the first six years of his KBO career for the Lions, then spent a season with the KIA Tigers and two more with the SK Wyverns before returning to Samsung in 2002.
Despite the win, second-place Doosan was not able to close the gap between the Bears and the league-leading Wyverns. SK is 48-33-5 this year, good enough for a 2.5-game lead over the 45-35-2 Bears. KIA is in third at 43-35-4, one game behind the Bears.