After a nice run in the World Baseball Classic by the Chinese Taipei team, the Chinese Professional Baseball League kicked off on Saturday with a rematch of the 2012 championship series.
In front of nearly 18,000 fans, the Lamigo Monkeys held off a late comeback by the Uni-President Lions 10-8 at Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium. The hitters dominated the the pitchers from the get go.
The Lions jumped out in the first inning with a run, but the lead didn’t last long. The Monkeys came back in the bottom of the second with an RBI double from Yu The-long and a RBI single fromTsan Chih-yao. Both came off Lions starter Pan Wei-luen.
Chen Guan-ren singled to lead off the third for Lamigo and came around to score on a Lin Chih-sheng RBI double giving the Monkeys a 3-1 lead. But as the early see-saw battle went, the Lions came back with a run of its own to cut the lead to 3-2.
The primates struck again in the bottom of the fifth. This time it was off the bat of Lin Hong-yu who hit a two-run home run off of Lion’s starter Pan.
The story of the game seemed to be the repeated Lions comebacks. However, after leading 1-0 they were never able to take the lead again. And in the top of the seventh they staged another rally.
A Chen Yung-chi triple cut the lead to one as the Lions scored twice in the top of the seventh. But just as the Lions would pull to within striking distance, the Monkeys would score again.
This time it was off the bat of Chen Chin-fong who blasted a two-run home run off of Lions reliever Lee Fong-hua pushing the lead to three. Three more runs in the bottom of the eighth put the game out of reach and the Monkeys’ lead to 10-4.
The Lions once again tried to make a comeback, but as they did all game long fell short again. Monkeys’ closer Hsu Ming-jeh gave up four runs before giving way to rookie reliever Tseng-Tsong-hsuan. Tseng came in and struck out two of the three hitters he faced to end the rally and the game.
Monkeys starter, and former Long Island Duck, Mike Loree picked up the win tossing 6.1 innings giving up four runs on eight hits. Loree spend the 2012 season with Long Island after spending a few years in the San Francisco Giants minor league system.
Pan Wei-luen took the loss for the Lions giving up five runs in five innings.
1. Lamigo Monkeys 1-0
2. Brother Elephants 0-0
3. EDA Rhinos 0-0
4. Uni-President Lions 0-1
Eric Bynum is Managing Editor here at BaseballdeWorld. He spent three years as an ESL teacher in South Korea, and is now working on his master's degree in history with a focus on baseball and WWII. He has played and/or written about baseball for the past 30 years and is an avid Atlanta Braves fan.