Uni-President Lions outfielder “Little Pot” Liu Fu-hao has been on a tear, hitting three-run homers in two straight games over the weekend, while he also clubbed a dramatic late home run in a comeback win over the EDA Rhinos last week.
Liu has been the hottest hitter in the CPBL of late and is on a 13-game hit streak. He has led the charge for the Lions to second place in the standing.
In Pingtung County on Thursday, the Lions and the Rhinos were all locked at 3-3 after nine innings. In the top of the 11th, the Rhinos got a run and were poised to take the extra-innings victory.
Photo: Lin Cheng-kung, Taipei Times
However, the Lions roared back in the bottom half, with one run to tie it up at 4-4. Then with two outs and one runner on, Liu took a fastball offering from EDA reliever “Fireball Ren” Lo Chia-ren and crushed it over the center-field wall for a two-run shot to win 6-4.
“It is always tough to hit Lo’s fastball. That one was a bit low, near kneecap level, where I could get a good swing on it,” Liu said after the game. “I hit it out of the sweet spot and it went toward center. I thought it would be at least a double, but was surprised to see it keep going.”
It was Liu’s first walk-off homer in his 12-year CPBL career.
According to the league’s record-keepers, the Uni-President all-star outfielder is the first and only player to complete the “grand slam cycle” for home runs.
Liu hit a homer in his first career at-bat in 2004, grand-slam homers (in 2007, 2010 and this year), an in-field home run (2010), first-inning lead-off homers (five times in 2011), a pinch-hit home run (last year) before last week’s walk-off homer.
Liu continued to swing a hot bat over the weekend, with the two three-run blasts and seven RBIs for the Lions to split two games against the Lamigo Monkeys.
In Sunday’s matchup, Lamigo slugger Chen Chun-hsiu broke a 5-5 deadlock with a three-run shot in the seventh for the Monkeys to overcome the Lions 8-5 at home at the Taoyuan International Stadium.
The other series had the Chinatrust Brothers picking up two wins in three games over the Rhinos.
The Brothers’ Wang Sheng-wei became the ninth player in league history to hit for the cycle in a 10-1 rout on Friday. He went four-for-five with five RBIs, hitting a homer, a double, a triple and a single.
In the other contest on Friday, Lamigo’s American starter Mitch Atkins pocketed his seventh win of the season, giving up one run through seven innings for an 8-1 triumph over the Lions.
Atkins struck out eight straight batters from the second to the fourth innings, setting a new CPBL pitching record. The previous high was seven straight strike-outs by Dominican Republic pitcher Osvaldo Martinez of the Sinon Bulls on June 29, 2003.
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