Cheng Jau-han’s two-out double with men on first and second sparked a three-run eighth that blew an otherwise close 3-2 game wide open, as the EDA Rhinos topped the Lamigo Monkeys 6-4 at the Cheng Ching Lake Baseball Stadium in Kaohsiung last night to take the weekend series in an impressive home stand.
The win, coupled with a loss by the Brother Elephants to the Uni-President Lions in Taichung at the same time, not only upped the Rhinos’ current win streak to four straight, but more important, sent them past the Elephants for the lead in the standings as they have fully rebounded from a dismal start to open the second half that saw them trailing by as many as eight games in the standings as recently as two weeks ago.
The hosts wasted little time getting to Mike Loree, with Chen Kai-luen belting a two-run blast off the Monkeys starter in the bottom of the second to put them ahead 2-0.
Neither offense scored in the next three innings, with Loree allowing at least a runner on over the same span, but managing to pitch out of trouble and his counterpart Yang Chien-fu benefiting from a pair of inning-ending double plays to keep the Monkeys from producing anything offensively.
Yang finally ran out luck in the top of the sixth as the Primates opened the inning with back-to-back singles from Hsieh Hsuan-ren and Lin Chih-ping, to set up Tsan Chih-yao’s game-tying two-run single that made it 2-all.
The tie lasted just one inning as the Rhinos answered with a go-ahead run in the bottom of the seventh, when Cheng opened the inning with a double off Loree, and reached third on a throwing error by the Monkeys defense before scoring on Lin Wei-en’s sacrifice fly that chased Loree.
Trailing by four to start the top of the ninth, the Monkeys were able to plate two off Rhinos closer Juan Morillo that made it 6-4, before the righty from the Dominican Republic got the Monkeys’ Lin Hung-yu to ground into a game-ending double play to preserve the win.
Picking up the win was setup man Tsai Ming-jin, who went a scoreless seventh and two outs into the eighth before being relieved by Morillo, while the loss was charged against Loree, who allowed three runs (two earned) on eight hits.
LIONS 5, ELEPHANTS 0
The Uni-President Lions celebrated Chang “OEO” Tai-shan’s 2,000th career hit with a 5-0 blanking of the Brother Elephants at the Intercontinental Baseball Stadium in Taichung last night.
Starter Wang Ching-ming was nearly flawless with seven shutout innings of one-hit ball to lift the Cats past their foes on the night. The longtime reliever extraordinaire has won both of his starts this year.