Orlando Roman pitched seven innings of four-run ball, while Chen Guan-ren went 3 for 4 to drive in three runs as the Brother Elephants held off a late-game rally from the Sinon Bulls to escape with a 9-7 win at the Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium last night.
What should have been a relatively easy win for the men in the golden uniforms turned into a narrow victory as the Bulls scored four unanswered runs during the final three frames to give the Elephants a scare.
The win for the Elephants not only avenged an embarrassing loss to the Bulls on Friday night, it also set up this afternoon’s rubber match to determine the winner of their three-game series.
Chen’s two-run triple highlighted a four-run third inning that broke a scoreless tie and gave the Elephants a 4-0 advantage. However, the Bulls answered in the fifth as Lan Shao-bai knocked in a run with a bases-loaded single, followed by Chan Jien-ming’s two-run single to make it 4-3.
The Elephants scored the next five runs with a pair in the bottom of the fifth and three more in the sixth to claim a seeming comfortable 9-3 lead.
Trailing by a half-dozen, the Bulls rallied with a run in the seventh off Roman on Cheng Da-hong’s clutch single, before plating a pair in the eighth on back-to-back base hits off Elephants setup man Lee Fong-hua to close it to a three-run game.
The game seemed to have -extra-inning written all over it as the Bulls led off the ninth with Wang Hsin-min’s triple and Wu Tsong-jung singled off Elephants closer Ryan Cullen to score Wang, which brought the tying run to the plate with no outs.
However, that was the closest the Bulls got as Cullen promptly induced a hard grounder to second that led to a well-executed double play, before getting the final batter on a grounder to short for his second save of the year.
Roman improved to 4-2 for the year despite watching a six-run cushion reduced to just two from the Elephants dugout.
Tagged with the loss was Sinon starter Lin Ying-jeh, who allowed eight runs (six earned) on 12 hits in 5-1/3 innings of work to stay winless at 0-6 for the season.
LIONS 7, MONKEYS 4
Three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning, capped by Kuo Jung-yo’s two-run home run, busted an otherwise close game wide open in the showdown between the Lamigo Monkeys and the Uni-President Lions at the Tainan Municipal Baseball Stadium last night, as the Lions grabbed a 7-4 home victory.
Runs by the Lions in the first, third and fifth spotted starter Jesus Sanchez of the Dominican Republic a 3-0 lead through the fifth.
However, the potent Monkeys bats would get two of the runs back in the top of the sixth as Chung Cheng-yo smacked a two-out single with the bases loaded that made it 3-2.
That was all the visiting Monkeys could manage as their bullpen served up four quick runs over the next two innings.