Overcoming a shaky three-run first inning, the Uni-President Lions mustered five unanswered runs the rest of the way to top the Lamigo Monkeys 5-3 at the Douliou County Baseball Stadium last night.
The win not only clinched the three-game set between the league’s top two clubs for the Lions by a 2-1 margin, more importantly it brought them to within a half-game of the top-ranked Monkeys.
Starter Dan Reichert ran into a world of trouble in the opening frame as he surrendered three quick runs on as many hits and a pair of walks despite a well executed double play by his defense to keep the Monkey offense from doing further damage.
Those were all the runs the Lions pitchers would allow as Reichert cruised through the next five innings and only twice allowed a runner to reach second base, before the his bullpen took over with three innings of shutout relief to keep the Monkeys at bay the rest of the way.
Down by three after the first, the Lions came up with three runs of their own in the third, sparked by Chen Yong-chi’s RBI double that chased Lamigo starter Hsiao Yu-chi and tied the game at 3-3.
The 3-3 tie lasted less than two innings as the Lion offense roared again in the fifth when Kuo Dai-chi connected on a two-out single that scored the go-ahead run en route to the 5-3 triumph.
Elephants 4, Bulls 3
The Brother Elephants needed two timely runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to turn a 3-2 deficit into a 4-3 lead as they held on to defeat the Sinon Bulls by the same score at the Sinjhung Baseball Stadium in New Taipei City last night to take the weekend series by a 2-1 margin.
Chou Si-chi reached safely on an error by the Bulls defense on a routine fly to left and advanced to third base two batters later, before taking home on a failed pick-off attempt by Bulls starter Lin Keh-chien that sailed wide to tie the game at 3-3.
The opportunistic Elephant offense would make the most of it by taking the lead on the ensuing play when Chen Wei-rue lined to left field to score the go-ahead run to make it 4-3.
That was all the Elephant bullpen needed as Guan Da-yuan pitched a scoreless seventh and loaded up the bases with two outs in the eighth, before Lee Fong-hua bailed him out with an inning-ending groundout and followed with a perfect ninth to preserve the win for Guan.
Offensively for the Elephants, rookie infielder Yang Chan-hsu’s 2 for 3 at the plate with an RBI led a lineup that was still missing the service of slugger Peng “Chia Chia” Cheng-min to injury.
Lin took the loss for the Bulls as he allowed four runs (two earned) on five hits over 5-1/3 innings.