Kuo Dai-chi’s towering two-run blast off Matt DeSalvo in the bottom of the eighth broke a scoreless tie to give the top-ranked Uni-President Lions a 2-0 lead as they went on to defeat the Lamigo Monkeys by the same score at the Pingtung Baseball Field late yesterday afternoon to sweep the three-game series.
It was the second straight game between the two clubs that was decided by a home run, following Kao Guo-ching’s three-run blast in Saturday night’s contest in Greater Tainan, in which the Lions won 3-2 to clinch the series.
The win also widened the Cats’ lead over the second-place Monkeys to three games in the standings as they look to gain the upper hand against their nemeses from Taoyuan, who used to call the city of Greater Kaohsiung home.
The classic pitchers’ duel between DeSalvo and the Lions’ Eric Wordekemper saw both hurlers hold their ground despite both allowing at least a runner on in all but two innings through the sixth.
However, DeSalvo’s luck was the first to run out as he walked the Lions’ Chang “OEO” Tai-shan with one out in the bottom of the eighth to set up Kuo’s homer over the right-field wall.
Lions skipper Terushi Nakashima sent closer Lin Yueh-ping to the mound to work a perfect ninth to preserve the shutout victory for reliever Liao Wen-yang, who entered in the seventh for Wordekemper and tossed a scoreless seventh and eighth to pick up his second win of the season.
Taking the tough loss was DeSalvo, who despite his five strikeouts, gave up two runs on eight hits over 7-2/3 innings, while fanning five and walking three to fall to 2-1 for the season.
BULLS 5, ELEPHANTS 1
The Sinon Bulls avoided a three-game sweep by topping the Brother Elephants at the Sinjhuang Baseball Stadium in New Taipei City yesterday afternoon.
The win also ended a three-game slide for the Bulls, who look to climb out of the cellar in the standings this week as they trail the third-place Elephants by two games nearly a month into the season.
Chang Jien-ming’s RBI single capped a three-run seventh that blew a 1-all tie wide open to help make a winner out of reliever Shen Yu-jeh, who pitched a scoreless sixth to beat his counterpart Jim Magrane of the US, who gave up three runs in just 2/3 innings.
Bulls second baseman Chen Pai-cheng also chipped in two runs.