The Lamigo Monkeys proved no match for Japan’s Yomiuri Giants in the title game of this year’s Asia Series as they dropped a 6-3 decision to the Japanese at the Sajik Baseball Stadium in Busan, South Korea, yesterday afternoon.
Starter Paul Phillips struggled from the get go, issuing a leadoff walk to the Giants’ Shinnosuke Abe in the top of the second and allowing back-to-back doubles to the next two batters to fall behind by two before serving up a two-run homer to Kazunari Sanematsu to find himself down 0-4.
The Primates threatened to score in the bottom of the same inning by loading up the bases with one out against Ryosuke Miyaguni on a single and a pair of walks. However, the Yomiuri starter managed to escape unharmed by getting the next two Monkeys to line out and ground out to strand the runners.
The Primates finally broke through in the fourth against Miyaguni when Lin Chih-sheng led off the bottom of the fourth with a solo blast to left to cut the Giant lead to three. However, that was as close as the champs from Taiwan’s Chinese Professional Baseball League would get as the Giants added to their lead with a run apiece in the sixth and the seventh that made it 6-1.
Trailing by five, the Monkeys mustered one final offensive in the bottom of the ninth with two runs off Giants closer Kentaro Nishimura on the strength of Yu The-long’s two-run single. However, it did not prevent the Giants from claiming their first and Japan’s fifth title in the six Asia Series played thus far.
Miyaguni was credited with the win for allowing a run on four hits over six innings of play to beat his counterpart Phillips who lasted only 1-2/3 innings before being pulled. The normal closer for the Monkeys looked uncomfortable with four allowed runs on three hits in an unfamiliar starting role.
With the victory, the Giants took home not only the top honor in Asian Baseball, but NT$13,000,000 (US$48,000) in prize money while the Monkeys won NT$8,000,000 as runnesr-up.