Lin Yi-chuan’s RBI single capped a three-run seventh inning as the EDA Rhinos blew a 2-1 lead wide open with a late-game scoring boost to defeat the Uni-President Lions 5-1 at the Cheng Ching Lake Baseball Stadium in Greater Kaohsiung last night.
The win not only helped the top-ranked Rhinos take the weekend series against the second-placed Lions, but also upped their lead over the Cats to 2.5 games as the two squads took their hunt for the first-half title to a new level. As recently as nine days ago, the Lions held a 1.5-game lead over the then second-placed Rhinos, but a six-game slide, coupled with a 5-2 record for the Rhinos in their past seven contests, means they have swapped places as they hold nothing back in their pursuit of the first-half title.
The showdown between the top two teams in the league lived up to its billing as they duked it out in a scoreless tie over the first five frames, with Lions starter Mike McClung and his counterpart, Lin Ying-jeh, holding their ground for their respective clubs.
However, the Lions then capitalized on a fielding error by Rhinos shortstop Lin Wei-en to set up Deng Chih-wei’s RBI single that gave them a 1-0 advantage in the top of the sixth, only to see the Rhinos answer with a pair of runs in the bottom of the same inning on the strength of Manny Ramirez’s run-scoring double and Lin Yi-chuan’s RBI single off McClung.
It turned out to be the second straight day that Lin Yi-chuan had knocked in the game-winning run, following his clutch RBI that put the Rhinos ahead for good in Friday night’s win over the Lions.
With a 5-1 lead, Rhino skipper Hsu Sheng-ming sent Shen Yu-jeh to the mound to start the eighth inning and the lefty setup man promptly retired the next four Lion batters in order, before closer Zach Hammes recorded the final two outs in the game to close out the deal.
Lin Ying-jeh was credited with his third win of the year after seven innings of one-run ball with five hits to beat McClung, whose league debut was spoiled by a better effort by his opposite number.
Elephants 2, Monkeys 1
The battle between the Brother Elephants and the Lamigo Monkeys at the Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium went down to the wire as the Elephants held off the hosts to escape with a 2-1 victory on the road.
It was the eighth straight victory for the men in the golden uniforms, widening their lead over the last-placed Monkeys to a season-high 3.5 games.
Peng “Chia Chia” Cheng-min’s sacrifice fly that scored the Elephants’ second run proved to be the difference.