Scoring early and often, the MLB All-Stars teed off against Taiwan‘s national team in Game 3 of the Taiwan All-Star Series last night in a 6-2 final at the Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium to up their lead over Taiwan to a commanding 3-0 in the five-game set.
Other than a scoreless fourth, the All-Stars put up at least one run over the first five frames, starting off with a two-run first that saw the visitors string together two singles and a double off Taiwan starter Cheng Kai-wen to take a 2-0 lead.
Emilio Bonifacio’s (Florida Marlins) two-out single following a double by Drew Butera (Minnesota Twins) scored the All-Stars’ third run of the game in the top of the second, before the hosts finally got a run back off Major League starter Felipe Paulino of the Kansas City Royals on a bases-loaded sacrifice fly by Kuo Fu-lin to make it 3-1 after singles by Yang Kuan-wei and Lan Yin-lun and a walk drawn by Lin Wang-wei earlier in the inning.
The 3-1 lead lasted less than an inning as the visitors added to their advantage with a solo blast from Michael Morse of the Washington Nationals off Cheng in the top of the third, before teammates Ryan Roberts and Logan Morrison connected on a run-scoring single and double respectively in the fifth to blow it open to 6-1.
Neither team scored in the next two innings against the stellar relief pitching of Collin Balester (Nationals) and Jose Veras (Pittsburgh Pirates) for the All-Stars and Kuo Chun-lin of Taiwan.
Trailing by five, Taiwan managed to plate their second run of the contest in the eighth when Chen Chun-hsiu belted a two-out single off Phil Coke of the Detroit Tigers and scored all the way from first on a double by Wang Chun-chieh on the ensuing play to make it 6-2.
That was as close as Taiwan got even though singles by Chen Wei-chih and Lin Chih-hsien off All-Stars reliever Mark Melancon of the Houston Astros suddenly brought the tying run on deck with one out in the ninth. Melacom worked out of the jam by retiring the final two batters he faced to strand two to end the game.
Balester was credited with the win for his 1-2/3 innings of one-hit relief, while Cheng took the loss for the hosts. He allowed four runs on seven hits and fanned seven in the four innings he pitched.
The two teams will move to Greater Kaohsiung for Game 4 at the Cheng Ching Lake Baseball Stadium this afternoon with the opening pitch scheduled for 2pm. Ni Fu-te will get the call from skipper Chen Wei-chen for Taiwan to take on Game 1 winner Jeremy Guthrie of the Baltimore Orioles.