Kao Guo-hui’s two-run single off Lions reliever Liao Wen-yang capped a five-run fourth as the EDA Rhinos humbled the Uni-President Lions 7-2 at the Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium last night to claim an important win.
The victory not only upped the top-ranked Rhinos’ lead over the second-placed Lions to two full games with only a handful of games remaining in the first half, but it also backed the Lions to the wall as they must win nearly all of their four remaining makeup games to keep pace with the Rhinos in the hunt for the first-half title.
With top spot in the standings up for grabs, the showdown between the two elite clubs lived up to its billing through the first two innings, with Lin Ying-jeh of the Rhinos matching Nelson Figueroa of the Lions out for out.
However, that quickly changed in the bottom of the third as the Rhinos strung together four straight singles off Figueroa to score a pair of runs for a 2-0 lead.
Even though the Lions managed to get both runs back in the top of the fourth on the strength of Chang “OEO” Tai-shan’s RBI single and Kao Guo-ching’s sacrifice fly off Lin to even things up, that was the extent to which they were able to hang with the Rhinos as the league leaders took advantage of two poor throws on a put-out attempt by Figueroa in the bottom of the fourth to set up what ended up being a five-run inning.
That was the difference as Lin held his ground through the seventh without giving up another run in one of his best outings of the year to beat his counterpart in the latter’s second tour of duty in Taiwan.
MONKEYS 6, ELEPHANTS 5
The Lamigo Monkeys held off a late rally by the Brother Elephants to escape with a 6-5 win at the Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium last night to force a tie for third place in the standings with their opponents.
After a five-run sixth by the Primates that turned a 1-2 deficit into a 6-2 lead — highlighted by Lin Chih-sheng’s two-run blast off Elephants starter Lin Yu-ching — the game suddenly shifted in favor of the visitors as they chipped away at the deficit with a run in the seventh and two in the eighth to get within a run of the Monkeys.
That was as close as the Elephants got, though, as closer Hsu Ming-jeh calmly recorded the final three outs in the ninth, despite allowing two runners on through a hit batsman and a single to preserve the win for starter Wang Fong-hsin.