Kuo Yen-wen’s run-scoring ground-rule double capped a three-run eighth for the Lamigo Monkeys as they broke a 3-3 tie wide open late in the game to defeat the Uni-President Lions 6-4 at Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium last night.
The victory not only extended the Monkeys’ recent winning streak to four straight, but more importantly upped their lead over the second-placed Lions to two-and-a-half games.
With the score deadlocked at 3-3 after the Lions had tied it in the top of the sixth on Chen Yong-chi’s clutch single to score the tying run, the Monkeys hitters went after Lions reliever Chang Chih-chiang in the bottom of the eighth with a pair of singles following walks issued by Chang to score two runs, before Kuo’s RBI-double.
Trailing by three heading into the ninth, the Lions had a golden opportunity to rally when they loaded up the bases with one out against Lamigo closer Hsu Ming-jeh, with back-to-back walks and a single by Chen, but a lone run was all they could manage as Yang Song-hsuen was hit by a pitch from Hsu to force in a run, before the Lamigo hurler took care of the next two batters to keep the win intact for starter Steve Hammond.
The game ended on a questionable play as the final Lions batter, Kao Chih-kang, was called safe by the first-base umpire after Kao had apparently beaten a soft throw by the pitcher to first to score the runner from third that made it 6-5.
However, he was ruled out on a changed call by the home-plate umpire after Lamigo skipper Hong Yi-chung charged the field and argued that Kao had run inside the baseline on his way to first to interfere with the defense and therefore induce an automatic out on the play.
Even though the Lions and their fans did not like the game-ending call, the replay clearly showed that Kao was more than two steps outside the base path on his way to first.
Chang was charged with the loss for giving up the three runs in the decisive eighth for his first setback of the year.
Elephants 10, Bulls 1
The Brother Elephants used a seven-run sixth inning to turn an otherwise close game against the Sinon Bulls into a 10-1 blowout at the Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium last night as they picked up an impressive victory on the road.
A dozen Elephants batters made their way to the plate in the sixth as they teed off against four different Bulls pitchers to pile on seven runs, six hits and a pair of walks.
Failure to come up with the timely hits ultimately cost the Bulls the game as they batted a combined 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position, including two double-plays to score only one run on 11 hits against the Elephants pitching.
Picking up his third victory of the season was Elephants starter Orlando Roman of the US, who allowed one run on six hits over 5-2/3 innings of work to beat his Sinon Bulls counterpart Lin Ying-jeh.
Lin served up six runs on as many hits in five-plus frames to remain winless this year with a 0-5 record.