Hsu Guo-long's one-run single in the bottom of the seventh broke a 5-5 tie for the Sinon Bulls as they held on to beat the La New Bears 6-5 in Taichung on Wednesday night for their second win of the week.
The veteran first baseman lined a 2-1 pitch from Bears reliever Lee Fong-hua with runners at the corners and two outs and delivered the clutch hit that salvaged what would have been a huge embarrassment for the Bulls for squandering a 5-0 lead earlier in the game.
"This was a big win for us considering that we have not been playing well as of late," Hsu said after the game. His club has spent most the second half looking up from the bottom of the standings.
Four singles by the Sinon offense and a pair of costly errors by the Bears defense led to a five-run third that broke a scoreless tie in a hurry, which chased Bears starter Hsu Wen-hsiung, even though only one of the five runs given up by the right-hander was earned.
The Bulls actually batted around the order against two Bears hurlers in the process.
The 5-0 lead by the Bulls did not last long however, as the defending champs upped their game a notch by cranking out two runs in the top of the fifth off Bulls starter Iba Tomokazu on an RBI single by Chen Fong-min and run-scoring groundout by Tseng Hao-jui to make it 5-2.
Down by three, the Bears would tie things up at 5-all in the top of the sixth when Yu Jin-deh knocked in a pair of runs with a rare triple off Bulls reliever Kurita Yusuke before Lin Jin-ping brought Yu home with a standup double that scored the tying run.
La New had another excellent scoring opportunity in the top of the seventh facing Bulls reliever Yu Wen-pin who allowed a leadoff walk and a single to start the inning with no outs and top hitter Chen Chin-fong at the plate.
But the former major leaguer would line a shot right at the Bulls shortstop who then alertly tossed to the ball to second to complete a crucial double play before Yu retired the next batter on three strikes to deny the Bears the golden scoring chance and set the table for Hsu's game-clinching swing.
Picking up the win for the Bulls was Yu, who improved to 3-2 for the year for tossing two scoreless innings of one-hit relief while his counterpart Hsu Chih-hua suffered the disappointing loss by allowing the winning run to reach on an opposite-field single in the fatal seventh.
Iba was denied a chance to win his ninth of the year despite having pitched five solid innings two-run ball on six hits and six strikeouts. It was the fourth straight start for the Japanese righty in which he allowed two or fewer runs over at least five innings of play but failed to win any of the games. His earned run average of 2.47 is third best in the league even though his 8-8 mark would suggest otherwise.
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