Overcoming a sluggish start, Taiwan came from behind to overcome China by a 3-1 margin in the final game of the Asian Baseball Championship at the Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium on Monday night and claim the silver medal in the event for the second straight year.
The make-up game for Friday night’s rainout that ended up being the battle for the silver medal saw the visitors from across the Strait strike first. China plated a run off Taiwanese starter Lai Hong-cheng (Sinon Bulls) in the top of the third when Cui Xiao drew a walk off Lai and scored on a double by An Xui for a quick lead.
Held to two base hits by Chinese starter Bu Tao over four scoreless frames, the Taiwanese offense finally broke through in the bottom of the fifth. Cheng Dai-hong (Bulls) drew a walk off Bu and advanced to third on two straight wild pick-off attempts, before scoring on Lin Chih-hsiang’s sacrifice fly that made it one-all.
After failing to score in the sixth despite collecting a pair of hits off Chinese reliever Chen Kuen, the Taiwanese bats bit again in the seventh to score the go-ahead run, before tacking on an insurance run in the eighth that made it 3-1.
Trailing by two, China managed to place runners on first and second with one out against Chen Hong-wen in the top of the ninth. However, the Taiwanese closer was able to pick up a key strikeout for the second out of the inning before inducing a groundout to short to end the game.
Reliever Wang Yao-lin was credited with the win for his 3-2/3 innings of shutout relief, while the loss was charged against Chen, who gave up the winning run in the seventh.
Running away with the gold medal for the fourth straight year were the defending champs from Japan, while the third-place finish went to South Korea, who lost 7-0 to Taiwan on Sunday.
Rounding out the rest of the six-team event were China, the Philippines and Pakistan.