The Lamigo Monkeys yesterday took Game 1 of the Taiwan Series with an 8-6 win at the Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium, scoring six runs on two home runs in a big rally in the fourth inning. The Brothers Baseball Club attempted to fight back late in the game, but could not overcome the deficit.
More than 19,000 fans witnessed hosts the Monkeys take the first victory in the CPBL’s best-of-seven championship finals against their fierce rivals, who were previously known as the Chinatrust Brothers.
The Brothers are seeking revenge, as this year is a rematch of last year’s Taiwan Series, when the Lamigo Monkeys dusted off the Brothers in five games 4-1, while the Monkeys will try to win the title for the second year straight.
Photo: Lin Cheng-kung, Taipei Times
Both teams elected to start with imported left-handed pitchers for this opener, with the US’ Pat Misch pitching for the Lamigo Monkeys and Victor Garate of Venezuela for the Brothers.
In the end, Misch pocketed the win, striking out three while giving up eight hits and three runs over seven innings.
Garate was tagged with the loss, as he allowed three walks and nine hits for nine runs over four innings.
Lamigo Monkeys team manager Hung Yi-chung after the game said that it was a good match, as both sides traded runs, with the big-scoring fourth inning the key, as his team seized the opportunity to provide good run support for the pitchers.
“Those six runs really boosted our team’s confidence and we kept it going through the contest for the win,” Hung said.
“We had several good chances to score runs in early on, but our batters did not come up with the big hits and stranded too many runners on bases,” Brothers Baseball Club team manager Wu Fu-lien said.
“We got some runs later on, but it was not enough, and we will have to do better in the upcoming games,” he added.
The visiting Brothers first opened the scoring, when, with one runner on base, Hsu Chi-hung slapped an RBI single to center field to take a 1-0 lead in the second inning.
Misch appeared to be in trouble two batters later, when the bases were loaded on only one out.
However, Misch cooled off the opposition’s rally, first striking out Brothers captain Chen “Red Turtle” Chiang-ho and then ending the inning by getting Chang “The Flower” Cheng-wei to hit a grounder for the out at first base.
At the top of the thrilling fourth frame, Brothers catcher Chen Chia-chu lined a single to drive in a run to double his team’s lead to 2-0.
They could have piled on more, as Misch faced runners on the corners with only one out, but he induced the next batter to hit into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.
The momentum shifted to the Monkeys in the bottom half of the inning, when outfielder Wang “The King” Po-jung opened the frame by smashing a fastball from Garate into the stands for a solo homer.
That ignited the Monkeys’ firepower, who after two hits and a walk had the bases loaded.
Yang Yao-hsun, formerly of the Japanese professional league’s Softbank Hawks, then punched through a grounder to knock in two runs, taking the hosts ahead 3-2.
Two batters later, with two runners on base, designated hitter Lin “Chubby Kid” Hung-yu clobbered a shot that just managed to clear the right-field fence for a three-run homer.
The Monkeys ended the pivotal fourth frame with six runs for a 6-2 lead.
Trying to get back in the contest, the Brothers got one run on two hits and a walk to make it 6-3 in the seventh inning.
They managed to narrow the gap to 6-4 when designated hitter Hsu Chi-hung blasted a solo homer in the eighth inning.
However, in the bottom of the eighth frame, the Monkeys padded their lead, scoring two more runs on three hits and one sacrifice fly to make it 8-4.
At the top of the ninth inning, the Brothers got the home fans nervous, when, with one man on base, Brothers outfielder Chou “The Chairman” Ssu-chi connected off a pitch from Monkeys reliever Lin Po-yu for a two-run play to cut the margin to two runs.
However, Lin steadied himself and struck out the next two batters to end the contest at 8-6 in favor of the Monkeys.
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