Yuya Kamada continued his mastery over opposing hitters with seven frames of shutout ball, while Pan “TAKE” Wu-hsiung drove in a pair of runs on 2-for-5 hitting to help the Uni-President Lions humble the Brother Elephants 8-0 at the Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium last night to take the weekend series in northern Taiwan.
The win not only extended the Cats’ current win streak to nine, but more importantly clinched the first-half title for the defending champs, as they needed only 50 games to secure a spot in the postseason with an amazing 37-13 mark in the first half.
Orange ribbons blanketed both sides of the infield seats as the Lions fans celebrated their franchise’s record-high 12th half-season title, thanks to another dominating outing by Kamada, as he improved to a league-best 11-0 for the season.
Back-to-back doubles by Pan and Chang “OEO” Tai-shan off Elephants starter Lin Yu-ching knocked in a pair of runs for the Lions in the opening inning to give the visiting Cats a quick 2-0 advantage, a lead they held until through the fourth before doubling it in the fifth with Pan’s second RBI double of the game and Deng Chih-wei’s bases-loaded walk off Lin.
That was more than the Elephants could handle as they were cuffed by Kamada and his relievers all game long in a losing cause.
Bulls 10, Monkeys 0
The Sinon Bulls took advantage of a five-run third to take a 6-0 lead and went to blank the Lamigo Monkeys at the Intercontinental Baseball Stadium in Greater Taichung last night to nip a six-game slide.
Lin Yi-chuan was a triple shy of hitting for the cycle to lead a Sinon attack that mowed through the Monkeys’ pitching as they collected an even dozen off the Primates en route to the blowout victory.
Lin Yi-chuan had two chances to get the elusive triple in the sixth and eighth innings, but failed to connect on either occasion, as the Monkeys’ pitchers was fully aware of the situation.
“The triple is always the hardest to get when you are trying to hit for the cycle, as you can see tonight,” he said after the game.
Spotted with an early lead, Sinon starter Lin Chen-hua backed up his top-pick status with 7-1/3 innings of shutout ball on five hits before turning the game over to reliever Wu Cheng-hsien, who ably kept the shutout intact by retiring five of the final six hitters he faced.
US righty Ken Ray did not have his usual stuff for the Monkeys as he lasted only two-plus innings, allowing six runs on five hits in his shortest start of the season. He is now 4-6 with an ERA of 4.44.