Hsu Guo-long's two-run double in the top of the ninth broke a scoreless tie for the Sinon Bulls as they blanked the Chinatrust Whales in a 2-0 triumph in Hsinchu on Friday night for their second win of the week.
The veteran first baseman shook off two strikeouts earlier in the game by driving a fastball down the pike from Kevin Tolar to deep-center for a game-winning two-run double after the Whales closer had given up a single to Chang "Prince of the Forest" Tai-shan and a leadoff walk issued by Tolar's predecessor Du Chang-wei to put runners on first and second.
"I just tried to put everything behind and focus on the last at-bat and it worked out pretty well for us," Hsu said after the game on his game-winning swing.
The classic pitchers' duel between the Bulls' Iba Tomokazu and the Whales' Lorenzo Barcelo saw the two foreign starters silencing the opposing bats with seven scoreless innings apiece on seven combined hits, three off Iba and four against Barcelo.
In came the relieving corps for the two squads as Japan's Kurita Yusuke took the mound to start the eighth before closer Kuo Yong-chih overcame a leadoff walk by retiring the next three Whales in order to keep the shutout intact for his ninth save of the season, while Du and Tolar faltered in the end to suffer the tough loss.
Picking up the win for the Bulls was Kurita, who improved to 5-3 for the year for throwing a perfect eighth while his counterpart Du suffered the disappointing loss by allowing the winning run to reach on four balls to drop to a dismal 1-7 record thus far.
Neither starter got a decision in the game despite pitching seven strong innings of shutout ball as a lack of run support cost them what should have been an easy win.
It was especially hard to take for Barcelo since it was the ninth quality start that the Dominican right-hander had made without having a "W" to show for it. His 3.33 earned run average is sixth best in the league even though his 5-7 record would suggest otherwise.