The big bats of the Uni-President Lions were on fire in the CPBL yesterday as they crushed the Rakuten Monkeys 21-5 in Taoyuan, with outfielder Lin An-ko driving in seven runs on five hits and two homers.
The result enabled the CTBC Brothers to take the No. 1 spot after they beat the Fubon Guardians 6-3.
It was a highlight reel for the Taiwanese-Argentinian star Lin, who drilled two homers amid a heated home-run race between himself, now on 16 for the season, and Lions teammate Su Chih-chieh, who is on 18.
Photo: Chen Chih-chu, Taipei Times
Lin performed outstandingly, collecting five hits at six at-bats to drive in seven runs and scoring three himself. He is the season RBI leader with 58.
The Lions’ hitters had a field day against the three opposing pitchers, collecting 26 hits and 21 runs, while Rakuten could only reply with 10 hits for five runs, despite playing at home in Taoyuan in front of 6,500 spectators.
However, Rakuten did stumble into second place in the standings.
The Brothers picked up their third straight victory in front of a home crowd of more than 9,100 people at the Taichung Intercontinental Stadium.
Brothers starting pitcher Huang Shih-en chalked up his fourth win of the season, tossing seven innings to strike out 11 and yielding five hits. He gave up two solo homers for his two runs of the night.
Huang was tagged by Fubon catcher Tai Pei-feng and outfielder Wang Cheng-tang for the solo shots, but the Brothers did one better, as they slammed three homers, including a two-run homer by slugger Tsan Tzu-hsien, to take the win.
On Friday, the Monkeys scored two late runs in their home game in Taoyuan on a bunt by second baseman Kuo Yen-wen with two men on base in the eight frame to break a 6-6 tie.
Kuo’s bunt surprised the Uni-President infielders, enabling two Rakuten baserunners come home to make it 8-6. Rakuten closer Wang Yao-lin then came in for the ninth inning and picked up his 10th save of the season.
In the other game on Friday, the Brothers, in a rare low-scoring affair, beat the Fubon Guardians 3-1 in Taichung.
American righthanded pitcher Mitch Lively pocketed his fifth win of the season, only allowing one run through in six innings, with eight hits and two strikeouts.
The Brothers’ batters scored three early runs, as Fubon were rocked by internal drama and rumors of players disagreeing with manager Hong I-chung, after a text message by captain Hu Chin-lung sparked controversy earlier in the week.
Hu, a former Los Angeles Dodgers player, distanced himself from the message, with Hu and his agency saying that it was his younger brother who wrote the message.
The message invited other teams to thrash Fubon so that Hong would be replaced.
Working quickly to contain the damage, Hu and star outfielder Lin Che-hsuan were demoted to a farm team on Friday.
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