A seven-run fifth inning, highlighted by Liu Fu-hao and Chen Yong-chi’s two-run doubles, paved the way as the Uni-President Lions doubled up on the Lamigo Monkeys in an 8-4 victory at the Kaohsiung County Baseball Stadium yesterday afternoon to take the weekend series by a 2-1 margin.
The win not only avenged the Cats tough loss to the Monkeys in Tainan the night before, but it also forced a tie with Lamigo for the lead in the standings as the two southern powerhouses have dominated the first two weeks of the season with identical 7-3 marks.
Lions starter Dan Reichert of the US fell behind 0-2 through the fourth by giving up solo homers to Lamigo’s Chung Cheng-yo and Lin Chih-sheng, but quickly got some run-support in the fifth in an otherwise decent showing to win his second game of the season. He allowed four runs (three earned) on seven hits in 6-2/3 innings of work, while fanning five and walking two.
Doing the damage with their bats were Liu, Chen and Pan Wu-hsiung, who accounted for six of their team’s eight runs in the game.
Trailing 7-2 after the Lions’ seven-run fifth, the Monkeys managed to get runs back off Reichert in the sixth and seventh on RBI-singles by Chung and Kuo Yen-wen, bringing them to within three of the Lions. However, that was as close as they got as Lions skipper Lu Wen-sheng sent in relievers Kao Jien-san and Lin Yueh-ping to pitch a scoreless eighth and ninth to preserve the win.
Taking the loss for the Monkeys was starter Steve Hammond, who cruised through the fourth with relative ease, before serving up seven straight hits in the decisive fifth for his first defeat of the year.
ELEPHANTS 5, BULLS 4, 12 INNINGS
Yang Jien-fu’s wild pitch with runners at the corners led to the game-winning run in the bottom of the 12th as the Brother Elephants rallied from as many as three down to top the Sinon Bulls 5-4 in extra innings at the Sinjhuang Baseball Stadium in New Taipei City last night.
Chou Si-chi’s two-out single off Yang in the bottom of the 12th brought the eager Elephant fans to their feet before Peng “Chia Chia” Cheng-min followed with an -opposite-field single to place the runners at the corners and set up the game-winner.
The defending champs jumped to a quick 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first against a wild Lee Chi-wei as the Sinon starter walked in the first run of the contest with the bases loaded.
The 1-0 lead would last through the fifth for the Elephants, with starter Ryan Cullen pitching shutout ball in a two-hitter before reliever Guan Da-yuan took over to start the sixth.
That was the window of opportunity that the Bulls needed as they erupted for four big runs on the strength of Wang Hsin-min’s Grand Slam off Guan to claim a 4-1 advantage.
Down by three, the Elephants scored a run in the seventh that made it 4-2 before Chen Guan-ren’s two-run blast off Sinon reliever Tsai Ming-jin tied the game at 4-4 in the 11th, a score that lasted well into the 12th, before the game was settled.
Yeh Ding-ren was credited with the win for retiring the final Sinon batter in the top of the 12th, while the loss was charged to Yang.