Chou Guan-sheng’s tie-breaking sacrifice fly with a runner on third scored the go-ahead run for the Uni-President Lions in the bottom of the seventh inning, as they held on to defeat the Brother Elephants in a 2-1 final at the Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium last night.
The win not only gave the Lions a 2-1 margin in the three-game set in northern Taiwan over the weekend, but also brought them to within a game of the top-ranked Lamigo Monkeys in the overall standings, whose scheduled contest against the Sinon Bulls in Taichung was suspended because of heavy rain.
The opportunistic Lions made the most of a hitless seventh inning when Chu Yuan-hsun reached first base as he was hit by a pitch and then took second on an ensuing sacrifice bunt, before getting to third on a passed ball by the Elephants catcher to set up Chou’s game-winner.
That was not the only mistake that could have changed the outcome of the game as the Elephants committed a run-negating play on offense in the top of the seventh when Chang Cheng-wei failed to make contact with the ball on a suicide-squeeze attempt that allowed the Lions to easily tag out the runner at third base for the second out of the inning.
Chang then slapped a single to right-field in the same at-bat following the out at third for what could have been a go-ahead run to give his team a 2-1 lead at the point.
That was all the boost that the Lions’ pitchers needed to clinch the win as starter Dan Reichert retired the side in order in the eighth inning, before closer Lin Yueh-ping tossed a perfect ninth inning to preserve the narrow victory for the American hurler’s fifth win of the year.
Taking the tough loss for the Elephants in a game where they outhit the Lions eight to four was starter Yeh “Ding Ding” Ding-ren, who pitched two-run ball (only one earned) on a three-hit gem over seven frames, leaving them little to cheer about after Wang Sheng-wei’s fourth-inning single that became the 100,000th hit in league history.
MONKEYS 1, BULLS 1, SUSPENDED
(RESCHEDULED FOR JUNE 15)
The contest between the Sinon Bulls and the Lamigo Monkeys at the Intercontinental Baseball Stadium in Taichung was suspended last night because of heavy rain after the two clubs managed to fit an inning in after a near two-hour rain delay.
The game was stopped with the score 1-1.
The rain-induced suspension drew more attention than usual because it was ordered ahead of the contest between the Lions and the Elephants, preventing the Monkeys and Bulls from entering the record books with the historical 100,000th CPBL hit.