Outfielder Lin An-ko carried a big bat this week — before his Uni-President Lions ran into the Fubon Guardians last night — blasting four home runs, including a grand slam as his side won four games in a row and moved into second on the CPBL table.
However, the Lions could not sustain their super-charged offense for the whole week, as they were shut out 4-0 by the Guardians in New Taipei City.
Fubon’s rookie catcher, Jhang Jin-de, took a page from Lin’s playbook. With two men on, Jhang smacked a three-run homer in the sixth inning.
Photo: Chen Chih-chu, Taipei Times
Henry Sosa of the Dominican Republic had a stellar outing, scattering six hits and striking out six over the full nine innings.
In Taichung, the Rakuten Monkeys also slumped, blanked 11-0 by the CTBC Brothers.
The Brothers cranked out 17 hits, while starting pitcher Esmil Rogers of the Dominican Republic tossed seven scoreless innings, yielding only five hits, one issued walk and five strikeouts to improve his record to 2-2.
Photo: Liao Yau-tung, Taipei Times
Chen Po-hao and Cheng Kai-wen pitched one inning each to preserve the shutout
Lin, who has a Taiwanese father and Argentine mother, has been in the limelight in the past few weeks for his outstanding production. After yesterday’s games, he leads the CPBL for home runs, with 24, and RBIs, with 74, although he only had one hit in four at-bats at the Sinjhuang Baseball Stadium last night.
With a sweet swing and a sharp eye to pick up pitches, the slugger has been the focus of fans and baseball pundits throughout this season, despite the Lions’ inconsistent results.
Photo: Chen Chih-chu, Taipei Times
However, they began a mini-winning streak on Sunday last week, when Lin slammed a three-run shot in the fifth inning against the Rakuten Monkeys, helping his team to a 10-4 triumph.
In their next outing on Tuesday, it was Lin’s teammate Chen Chieh-hsien’s turn to play the hero’s role when he hit a double to bring two runners home in the pivotal eighth frame. The three runs helped the Lions to a come-from-behind win against the CTBC Brothers.
In the second game of their short series against the Brothers the next day, the Lions trailed 2-1 heading into the eighth.
With CTBC starting pitcher Ariel Miranda cruising through seven frames and shutting down the opposition batters, he seemed poised to pick up the win.
However, CTBC reliever Chen came on in the eighth.
Lin, who was inserted midway through the contest and had struck out against Miranda, faced Chen after the reliever had allowed three consecutive singles for the Lions to load the bases.
Lin took a fastball offering and drilled a shot into the right-field stands for his 22nd home run of the season.
More importantly, it was a grand slam, with the four runs putting the Lions into a 5-2 lead, which was just enough after CTBC scored two runs in the next inning for the game to end 5-4.
It was the first grand slam in the CPBL this year.
In their next game on Friday, the Lions were the visitors in New Taipei City facing the Guardians, where Lin continued his long-ball attack, smashing two dingers for his 23rd and 24th homers of the season.
Facing Fubon starter Bryan Woodall of the US and with two men on in the opening frame, Lin unloaded on a high pitch and delighted fans and players by blasting it out of the ballpark. It went over the right-field stands onto the grass outside the Sinjhuang Stadium.
The three-run shot helped the Lions lead all the way as they roared to a 7-2 victory against Fubon, with Lin hitting another homer, a solo in the eighth inning to account for four of his team’s runs.
Additional reporting by Grant Dexter
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