Lin Chih-hsiang’s bases-clearing double capped a four-run seventh inning that broke a 1-0 game wide open to help the Uni-President Lions blank the Lamigo Monkeys 5-0 at the Douliou County Baseball Stadium last night and sweep the weekend series.
The win gave the red-hot Big Cats sole possession of the lead in the standings and extended their winning streak to five straight, as well as 10 wins out of the past 12 games, as they look to follow up their first-half title with an equally strong effort in the second half of the season.
Starter Dan Reichert continued his dominance against the Monkeys by going the distance in a six-hit gem to improve to 5-1 in the six games he started against the Monkeys. The shutout win also improved the American right-hander’s victory total to a league-best 11, one more than fellow countryman Ken Ray of the Monkeys.
The showdown between the top two clubs in the league saw the Cats jump to a quick 1-0 lead as Liu Fu-hao led off the bottom of the first with a solo blast to left off Monkeys starter Steve Hammond.
That was the only run scored by either team during the next five innings with both hurlers holding their ground against the opposing hitters despite allowing the leadoff man to reach base on several occasions in a classic pitchers’ duel.
Hammond’s luck finally ran out in the seventh as the Cats made him pay by knocking home the second run of the game after the American left-hander issued a leadoff walk to the Lions’ Kao Guo-ching and allowed him to reach second on a sacrifice bunt on the ensuing play to set up Chuang Jing-heh’s RBI double.
In came Monkeys reliever Hsu Ming-jeh, who loaded up the bases before serving up Lin’s three-run double that sealed the win for the Cats.
BULLS 4, ELEPHANTS 2
The Sinon Bulls made it two wins in a row by doubling up on the Brother Elephants in a triumph at the Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium last night to win the weekend series by a 2-1 margin.
Wu Tsung-jung’s homer off Elephant starter Lee Jin-mu to lead off the fourth put the visiting Bulls ahead 3-1, a lead they did not relinquish despite a hot pursuit by the Elephants, who answered with a run of their own in the bottom of the same inning to make it 3-2 through the fourth inning.
Unfortunately for the Elephants, that was as close as they got with Bulls starter Shen Yu-jeh pitching a perfect fifth, before Lin Chih-chien followed by four shutout innings of one-hit relief to deny the Elephants hitter any chance of a comeback.
Picking up the win was Shen, who allowed a pair of unearned runs on six hits scattered over five effective innings of play, while the loss was charged to his counterpart Lee, who lasted only 3-1/3 innings, giving up three runs on four hits to fall to a 3-7 mark for the season.