The Uni-President Lions’ recent slide continued as they succumbed to the Sinon Bulls in a 10-8 decision at the Yilan County Baseball Stadium in Luodong on Friday night for their fifth loss in a row.
The defending champs have suddenly lost their winning edge after claiming the first-half title this season, with a 1-6 record in their seven second-half games.
Inability to win the close games is to blame as two of the six losses by the Lions have been decided by single runs and another two were decided by less than three runs.
On Friday night, the Lions’ offense spotted Pan Jung-rong a 2-0 lead in the top of the first only to see the third-year starter squander it away giving up three runs in the bottom of the same inning and eight total runs in four-plus innings on 10 hits and three walks.
As hard as the Lions offense tried to keep the team in the game — managing three runs in the sixth and the eighth that reduced the deficit to a lone run — generous pitching made it impossible for the Lions to gain an advantage.
Trailing by two heading into the top of the ninth, the Lions put runners on first and second with no outs in what seemed a golden scoring opportunity.
But the next batter, Kao Chih-kang, popped up to right and Yang Seng hit into a game-ending double play.
Bulls starter Shoda Itsuki improved to 9-4 for the year to tie the La New Bears’ Aaron Rakers for the lead in total wins.
BEARS 15, ELEPHANTS 1
Nine second-inning runs by the La New Bears set the tone early in the game as they erupted for 15 runs on as many hits en route to a rout over the previously red-hot Brother Elephants at the Taipei County Baseball Stadium in Sinjhuang on Friday.
Chen Chin-fong and Lin Chih-sheng both homered, upping their league-leading home run totals to 19 apiece.