Chung “Yoyo Man” Cheng-yo’s walk-off single with the bases loaded scored the game-winning runs in the bottom of the ninth as the Lamigo Monkeys rallied to top the Uni-President Lions 7-6 at the Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium last night.
In a game that featured four homers between the two teams, it was the Primates who had the last laugh, thanks to the slugger out of the National Taiwan Sport University, who has recovered from a mid-season slump with a six-game hitting streak to lift his team past their nemesis from Tainan. Chung drove in three runs on a three-for-four night to boost his average to a season-high .276.
“I knew we had a chance to pull it off if we believed in ourselves,” Chung said after the game.
His team have won six straight and 11 of their last dozen to ascend from the bottom of the standings to finish the first half of the season with a respectable 28-32 record.
Hoping to break out of a six-game slide, the Lions came out firing with two quick runs off Lamigo starter Wang Fong-hsin on the merits of back-to-back solo homers by Kuo Jung-yo and Deng Chih-wei in the top of the second.
After a scoreless third, the Lions struck again in the fourth, when Chang “OEO” Tai-shan led off the inning with a double and scored two batters later on an infield single by Liu Yu-chen.
The Primates finally broke through against the solid pitching of Lions starter Nelson Figueroa with five runs in the fourth and fifth to take a 5-3 lead, highlighted by a homer from Chan Chih-yao and an RBI triple by Chung.
The Lions fought back with their third and fourth long ball of the game, courtesy of Kuo on a three-homer night to take a 6-5 lead in the eighth.
After Kao Chien-san shook off a scoring threat by the Monkeys in the bottom of the eighth by stranding a runner on third, closer Lin Yueh-ping got the call from Lions manager Terushi Nakashima looking to close out the deal.
However, the normally sure-handed righty was unable to ring up the win as he allowed the leadoff man to reach on a single before loading up the bases with two outs to set up Chung’s game-winning swing.
Picking up the victory was reliever Chen Cheng-da, who served up Kuo’s third homer in the game with 1-1/3 innings of two-run ball to beat Lin for his second win of the season.