Manny Ramirez’s single up the middle with a runner on second broke a scoreless tie in the top of the seventh and Cheng Jau-han followed with a two-out single as the EDA Rhinos blanked the Brother Elephants 2-0 at the Cheng-ching Lake Baseball Stadium in Greater Kaohsiung last night.
The win nipped a two-game slide for the Rhinos, who lost their top spot in the standings over the weekend to a streaky Uni-President Lions squad that took their three-game set over the weekend against the Lamigo Monkeys by a 2-1 margin with a 3-0 win over the defending champs.
The highly anticipated showdown between a pair of former top-draft picks — Yang Chien-fu of the Rhinos and Lin “Little Chick” En-yu of the Elephants — lived up to its billing as the two hurlers held their ground in a scoreless pitchers’ duel over the first six frames, with Yang tossing four-hitter ball and Lin outdoing him with a two-hit gem.
However, Lin’s luck changed in the bottom of the seventh as the Rhinos’ Hu Chin-lung led off the inning with a single to shadow-left, advanced to second on a groundout by Kao Guo-hui, and scored on Ramirez’s RBI single to give his team a 1-0 advantage.
After Lin picked up the second out of the inning on a ground ball to second to fill the bases at the corners, it was Cheng’s clutch swing that upped the Rhinos’ lead to 2-0, bringing the home fans to their feet.
The 2-0 lead proved ample for the Rhinos bullpen as Shen Yu-jeh took care of business in the seventh and eighth before Lin Cheng-fong pitched a hitless ninth to keep the shutout win intact for Yang.
Taking the loss was Lin En-yu who went the distance for the Elephants in a six-hitter, but fell victim to an anemic offense that failed to produce any runs against the Rhinos’ pitching.
LIONS 3, MONKEYS 0
Luo Ching-lung tossed seven solid innings of five-hit ball and Kao Chih-kang drove in a run on a two-for-three night, as the Uni-President Lions defeated the Lamigo Monkeys at the Douliou County Baseball Stadium last night to win their weekend series.
It was the second straight quality start that the former minor league Colorado Rockies standout has turned in after failing to pick up a win in his first three starts in his first season as a professional player in Taiwan.
Luo also got plenty of help from his defense, which bailed him out in a big way when second baseman Chou Guan-sheng gunned down the runner from third at the plate to help Luo escape unharmed from a two-on-with-one-out jam in the second before a 6-4-3 double play ended a Monkeys scoring threat in the top of the eighth.
Luo improved to 2-0 for the season with the victory, dropping his ERA to a league-best 1.27.