Lin Chih-sheng’s three-run home run off Lin Keh-chien sparked a five-run third as Team White grabbed an early lead and held on to defeat Team Red 6-5 in this year’s All-Star Game at the Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium on Sunday night.
The swing that earned the La New slugger the game-MVP honor was considered the icing on the cake given the fact that Lin Chih-sheng also took home this year’s top prize in the annual Home run Derby the night before to back up the 20 he had already taken out of the park to lead the league homer totals.
The crowd of nearly 18,000 that flocked to Taichung for the mid-summer classic got the game they had been longing for with the best and brightest from the southern teams (the La New Bears and the Uni-President Lions) holding off a tenacious rally by their northern counterparts (the Brother Elephants and the Sinon Bulls) to win it by a small margin.
After Team White took a 5-0 lead in the top of the third, Team Red immediately answered with a pair of runs of its own on Hsieh “the Ugly” Jia-shien’s (Bulls) two-run blast off Bears hurler Aaron Rakers, which made it 5-2.
Team Red would add another run in the sixth to fall within a deuce before Chung Cheng-yo (Bears) went deep in the seventh off Lee Hao-ren (Elephants) for a solo blast that kept the cushion at three in a 6-3 affair.
Chung’s homer proved to be the difference in the game as Team Red rallied with two more runs in the bottom of the seventh, making it 6-5, a lead the Team White bullpen would hold with a hitless eighth from the Bears’ Hsu Ming-jeh before Lin Yueh-ping (Lions) recorded the final three outs in the ninth to preserve the victory.
Starter Pan “Du Du” Wei-luen was credited with the win for tossing two shutout innings despite allowing three hits to the northerners to beat Lin Keh-chien as the Bulls’ rookie sensation was charged for all five of the runs in the decisive third, even though only one of the runs was earned.