The Uni-President Lions won a record-high 38 games in the first half of the season with a 4-2 road triumph over the Lamigo Monkeys at the Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium on Wednesday night to stake their claim in the record books.
Starter Jon Leicester of the US was well on top of his game as he took a 4-0 shutout one out into the ninth, before surrendering an RBI single to the Monkeys’ Lin Chih-sheng to lose his shutout bid.
However, with runners on first and second and the winning run at the plate in a 4-2 score, Lions closer Lin Yueh-ping was able to clamp down and strike out Shih Chih-wei to end the hosts’ rally while picking up his 99th career save.
“It’s great to be able to get the job done, I didn’t think I was going to pitch in this game with Jon doing so well all game long,” Lin said after the game.
He is second on the all-time save list, with the record of 124 by the Lions’ Mike Garcia well within his reach. Doing the damage at the plate for the Lions was rookie Deng Chih-wei, whose bat has heated up nicely for the Cats with pair of singles on a two-for-four night to improve his average to .298.
Also starring for Uni-President was Pan “TAKE” Wu-hsiung, who doubled in the game to up his batting average to a league-best .438.
Failure to score against Leicester when they had the chance in the third and fifth ultimately cost the Monkeys the game as they hit into an inning-ending double play in both innings to bail out the American, despite out-hitting the Lions by an 8-5 margin on the night.
BULLS 9, ELEPHANTS 1
The Sinon Bulls took advantage of a five-run first to spot starter Lin Ying-jeh a sizable 5-0 cushion before the southpaw even threw a pitch and went on to humble the Brother Elephants 9-1 at the Sinjhuang Baseball Stadium in New Taipei City on Tuesday evening.
Lin Yi-chuan extended his hitting streak to 29 games and counting with a single and a double off a generous Elephants pitching corps that sent seven pitchers to the mound in a losing cause. He is now two games shy of the all-time record set by former Elephants great Lin Yi-tseng. The top of the Sinon order also had a big day at the office with Cheng Da-hong, Cheng Jau-han and Chang Jien-ming combining for eight hits and four RBIs.
Equally impressive for the Bulls was starter Lin Ying-jeh, who won his fourth game of the season with another quality start, allowing a lone run on seven hits over as many innings.
Elephants starter Yeh Yong-jeh came into the game in search of his first win of the season for skipper Chen Rei-chen, but left with the loss as he lasted less than an inning in his first game of the year, serving up three hits and two walks to the Bulls. He was demoted to the minors on Wednesday following the disappointing outing.