Sun, Oct 16, 2011 - Page 20 News List

Lions pounce on Monkeys to win Game 1

By Paul Huang  /  Contributing Reporter

The Lions’ Lin Yueh-ping celebrates after notching a save against the Monkeys in Game 1 of the Taiwan Series in Taoyuan yesterday.

Photo: Lin Cheng-kung, Taipei Times

Taking advantage of a critical mistake by the Lamigo Monkeys defense, the Uni-President Lions overcame an early deficit with a three-run sixth to run away with a 3-2 road win at the Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium last night in the opener of this year’s Taiwan Series.

Kao Chih-kang’s grounder to short in the sixth with runners on second and third would have represented the inning-ending out and kept the Lions leading 2-1, but it was mishandled by Monkeys shortstop Chang Jia-hao, which allowed the runner on third to score and gave the Big Cats a 3-1 lead.

The error proved costly for the Primates as the Lions held a potent Monkeys attack to just one more run the rest of the way to preserve a narrow 3-2 win.

While the offenses for both teams took the spotlight in the weeklong pregame hype leading up to the opener, with the showdown between the league’s top two home run hitters— Lin Hong-yu of the Monkeys and Kao Guo-ching of the Lions — being the center of attention, it was the defense that actually turned out to make the difference in the game.

“We played a very good defensive game with some outstanding glove work,” Lion skipper Lu Wen-sheng said in the postgame interview.

His Lions pack took away at least a couple of runs from the Monkeys with three key defensive plays, the first being a diving catch by centerfielder Liu Fu-hao in the top of the third that negated a run for the Monkeys, the second being a great grab by game-MVP Chen Yung-chi, who took away a run-scoring double from Tsai Jien-wei playing at third to replace an injured Chang Tai-shan and finally Kao Guo-ching’s over-the-shoulder catch in foul territory in the ninth recorded the Monkeys’ second out in the ninth.

Doubles by Kuo Shu-wei and Tsai off Lions starter Seth Etherton gave the Monkeys a quick 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third.

The score remained at 1-0 through the fifth with Monkeys starter Ken Ray keeping the Lions offense off the board despite allowing at least a hit in four of the first five innings.

Ray’s luck would finally ran out in the sixth as he served up three straight singles to load up the bases in the sixth inning, before Chang Tai-shan and Chen Lien-hong drove in the Lions’ first two runs with a single and an RBI-groundout that made it 2-1 in favor of the visitors.

Etherton was credited with the win for his five solid innings of play, allowing a run on six hits while fanning five and walking one.

As for the Monkeys, Ray was tagged with the loss, falling victim to a shaky defense that committed a pair of errors in the game.

Today’s Game

Game 2 at the Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium is scheduled for 5pm with the Lions sending Dan Reichert to the mound to take on the Monkeys’ Bryan Corey.

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