Trouble continued for Taiwan in Game 2 of this year’s Japan vs Taiwan Baseball Challenge as the home team dropped their second straight by a 4-2 margin at the Sinjhuang Baseball Stadium in New Taipei City (新北市) last night.
A failure to contain Japan’s offense as runners occupied scoring positions made the difference in the game, as the visitors connected on three straight base hits off starter Ni Fu-te (倪福德) with runners in scoring position to generate a four-run second.
Taiwan skipper Lu Ming-tsu’s (呂明賜) decision to leave Ni in the game for one batter too many also left many wondering if Lu had too much confidence in his starter, especially since he made a similar decision in Friday night’s Game 1 that cost Taiwan their lead at that point.
Yang Dai-kang’s (陽岱鋼) solo blast off Japan starter Yusuke Nomura in the top of the first gave the home team a quick 1-0 lead.
However, the advantage proved to be short-lived as Ni pitched himself into a jam in the bottom of the second by serving up a single and a double to place runners on second and third, before allowing a two-run single to Shogo Akiyama in what ended up being a five-hit, four-run second.
Japan’s 4-1 advantage stood deep into the game, with Nomura silencing Taiwan’s bats through the fourth, before his bullpen held Taiwan to one more run on three hits the rest of the way en route to bagging a solid win.
Taiwan had two golden scoring opportunities in the sixth and the ninth, with runners at the corners in the former and the bases loaded in the latter, but failed to come up with the clutch hits necessary to attain what would have been a dramatic comeback victory.
Picking up the win was Osera, while the loss was charged to Ni.