For the second time in as many games, a Taiwan Series contest was decided by a game-ending error.
Macoto Cobras reliever Lin Ying-jeh's sharp slider just skidded past catcher Wu Jau-hui's glove, resulting in a wild pitch that scored the Sinon Bulls runner from third to give the Bulls a 4-3 win in the bottom of the ninth in Game 2 action at Douliou on Sunday.
After a crucial fielding error by the Cobras rightfielder that allowed the Bulls runner to score the winning run all the way from first base on a routine single to win the series-opener by a 2-1 final on Saturday, the Cobras watched the Bulls claim Game 2 in similar fashion to take a comfortable 2-0 lead in the annual best-of-seven Fall Classic.
PHOTO: SINON BULLS
The game began with the Cobras ringing up a pair of runs off Bulls starter Osvaldo Martinez on a second-inning RBI groundout by Shih Shian-kai and cleanup man Hsieh "the Ugly" Jia-shien's run-scoring single in the third inning for an early 2-0 advantage.
Then came a furious Bulls attack that not only halved the Cobras' lead with a one-run fifth, but actually gave the Bulls a 3-2 lead in a two-run sixth, highlighted by third baseman Chang "Prince of the Forest" Tai-shan's one-run double and second baseman Huang Chung-yi's go-ahead single, both off Macoto starter Hsu Chu-jien.
The Bulls' lead lasted less than an inning as the Cobras countered with a run of their own in the top of the seventh on three consecutive singles.
PHOTO: SINON BULLS
Hsieh drove in the tying run with the third single to force a 3-all tie, setting the stage for yet another late-game drama.
Neither starter was dominating against the opposing batters, but both managed to keep the game close with some fine defensive help and key outs in clutch moments.
The Cobras' Chuang Jing-ho was thrown out at the plate by Bulls outfielder Tseng Hua-wei to end the top of the second in what could have been a big inning for the Cobras, while Lin Ying-jeh got out of a huge jam in the eighth when Hsieh Jia-shien made a tough catch in foul territory to end a Bulls' scoring threat.
Offensively for the victorious Bulls, catcher Yeh Jung-chang walked away with the game-MVP honor for his role in initiating the Bulls' winning run by leading off the ninth with an opposite-field single, in addition to going 2-for-4 on the night.
Yeh also played an important role in getting the most out of fellow starter Martinez, who did not quite have his usual stuff in the game, yet kept the Cobras to only three runs on 10 hits over 6-2/3 inning.
"With Ozzy [Osvaldo Martinez] not having his best stuff tonight, we knew we had to try something different, so I asked him to vary his location more so than the pitch type," Yeh said after the game. "Thank god it worked out well for us."
Pocketing the win for the Bulls was reliever Jorge Cortez for his 2-1/3 innings of shutout relief, leaving his counterpart, Lin Ying-jeh, with the tough loss -- Lin's second of the series.
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