A costly error by Brother Elephants second baseman Chen Wei-rue that resulted in two runs for the Uni-President Lions capped a three-run rally in the top of the sixth as the Cats turned a 2-4 deficit into a 5-4 lead and held on to win at the Taichung Intercontinental Baseball last night.
The victory gave them a one-game lead over the Rhinos in the standings, with the Rhinos losing to the Lamigo Monkeys in Taoyuan.
What should have been a double-play ball for Chen, who had plenty of time to complete the twin killing, turned into a two-run gift for the league leaders, who found themselves in unfamiliar territory as they trailed the Elephants by two through the fifth.
That was the confidence boost that the Lions were looking for as the bullpen took control of the game with four innings of shutout ball, despite allowing a pair of runners to reach safety in each of the final three innings.
Topping the Lions’ several stellar defensive plays was a shoestring catch by centerfielder Tang Jao-ting in the bottom of the ninth, in which he robbed the Elephants’ Peng “Chia Chia” Cheng-min of a potential game-tying double to keep the Elephants’ offense at bay.
Picking up the win was starter Luo Ching-lung, who allowed four runs on nine hits over five effective innings to beat his counterpart Lin Yu-ching, who pitched into the sixth before being pulled, but was charged with all five of the Lions’ runs (three earned) in a losing cause.
Monkeys 10, Rhinos 5
The Lamigo Monkeys roughed up the EDA Rhinos at the Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium last night to sweep the weekend series against their archrivals from Kaohsiung.
The win also increased the defending champs’ win streak to a season-high four as they look to close out the first half in winning form after a disappointing May that dropped them out of contention for the first-half title.
The home Primates greeted Rhinos starter Lin Ying-jeh with a five-run first that knocked out the lefty from Kaohsiung’s Kao Yuan Vocational High School, who had gone 4-1 in his eight previous starts prior to yesterday’s defeat. He was charged with all five of the Monkeys’ runs, while managing to record just one out on the night.
Failure to come up with the big hits made the difference in the game as the Monkeys were able to produce 10 runs on the 15 hits they mustered, compared with the five that the Rhinos managed off the 17 hits they belted off the Monkeys’ pitching to strand more than a dozen runners.
Starter Wang Fong-hsin was credited with the win for his five innings of four-run ball on 10 hits, thanks to a potent offense that backed him up with double-digit runs.