Taipei City rode the right arm of starter Zhu Wei-ming, who went the distance for the home team as they edged past the Guangdong Leopards of China’s China Baseball (CBL) League to win 4-3 at the Taipei Municipal Baseball Stadium in Tianmu early yesterday afternoon in the opener of the 2012 Cross-Strait Baseball Challenge.
The former Chinatrust Whales starter, who opted to play for Taipei City following the end of the Whales in 2008, showed no signs of slowing down as he allowed only three runs on eight hits over nine frames to keep the home crowd proud.
Even though he gave up a pair of runs in a shaky ninth that turned a 4-1 advantage into a 4-3 affair, Zhu managed to pitch out of the jam by fanning the final two Chinese batters to keep the victory intact.
The showdown between the two squads from across the Taiwan Strait was a pitchers’ duel from the get go, with Leopards starter Wang Pei pitching one-hit ball through the fifth, while Zhu allowed two singles over the same span in a scoreless tie.
However, the Islanders finally broke through in the sixth with two runs on hits from Huang Yu-his, Wu Chia-hui and Tsai Sheng-fong to chase Wang, before doubling their lead an inning later for a 4-0 score.
The Leopards managed to get a run back off Zhu in the top of the seventh on the strength of two singles and made it interesting in the ninth with two more runs, but it was too little, too late for the visitors as they failed to knock in the tying run against Zhu to settle with a narrow loss.
Picking up the win was Zhu, who allowed three runs on eight hits, while fanning six. The loss was charged against Wang, who cruised through the fifth, before stumbling in the sixth in a losing cause.
The eight-team tournament, which features four clubs from the CBL and four clubs from Taiwan’s amateur league, will continue in Tianmu and at the Sinjhuang Baseball Stadium in New Taipei City through Sunday before the champs will be determined in the title game in Tianmu on Sunday afternoon.
‧ Taiwan Cooperative Bank 4,
Tianjin Lions 1
‧ Taipower 4, Jiangsu
Hopestars 3, 10 inns
‧ New Taipei City 3,
Sichuan Dragons 0