Hawks Escape with Victory Over the Other Lions

The game was a little hazy as jet lag had set in.  All myworld can say is that it was a bit noisy, with pounding drums, incessant chants, waving flags, cute cheerleaders, popping balloons and blaring horned instruments all clouding my mind somewhere.  The Hawks were able to escape with a 6-5 win, holding off a three run ninth inning rally by the Uni-President Lions, with the tying run at third and the winning run at first when the final out was made.  The rest is a bit muddled.

Neither pitcher Shota Oba or Ryan Glynn lasted long in the game.  Glynn gave up a run in the first on a Nobuhiro Matsuda RBI single, and his pickoff of Matsuda at first saved the inning from being larger.  Oba was driven from the game when the Lions chased him with two hard singles and a 2-run double into the right centerfield gap by Tai-Shan Chang in the second inning.  A walk ended the day for Oba, but the bullpen got the three outs without any further damage.

Glynn got rocked in the third.  After back to back singles put runners on first and second and no one out, Glynn tried to make an off balanced throw to third on a bunt while he was falling to the ground in an attempt to get the lead runner.  The ball sailed past the third baseman and allowed the tying run to score and runners to move up.  Glynn tried to hide his face in his glove.  A 2-run single by Seiichi Uchikawa made it 4-2 and after a walk to the next batter the day was done for Glynn.  The crowd gave him a nice applause despite his poor effort.

An error by Lion’s second baseman Kuang-Sheng Chou proved costly in the fifth (actually, I have been advised that Chou had been replaced by Chih-Hsiang Lin prior to the error, so it would have been Lin that made the boot).  A single by Nobuhiro Matsada and a hit batsman loaded the bases.  Kenji Akashi singled on a 3-1 pitch to score two to increase the Hawk lead to 6-2.  Another hit batsman loaded the bases again, but the Lions catcher Chih-Kang Kao was able to pick off Kenta Imamiya to end the inning.

The Hawks looked like they would run away with the game when they loaded the bases with no out in the seventh, but two whiffs and a popup prevented the Hawks from scoring.  The count was 3-0 on the first batter that whiffed and he swung on the 3-0 count.  The failure to score created an interesting ninth inning drama.

The fans gave a big applause to Taiwan native and Hawk pitcher Yao-Hsun Yang when he came in the game to pitch the ninth.  Now do you root for him to do well and Taiwan to lose, or hope he does poorly to give Taiwan the victory and his status with the Hawks is downgraded.  He retired the first two batters, but then struggled.

Pinch hitter Chun-Yu Kuo walked.  The Hawk skipper Koji Akiyama came out to talk to the Taiwanese pitcher and seemed to joke with him, putting his arm around his shoulder.  On his second pitch to Fu-Hao Liu, Yang grazed his uniform to put runners on first and second.  Akiyama came out, patted Yang on the head and they both laughed.  It turned serious when Masahiko Morifuku could not stop the bleeding, giving up an RBI single to Yung-Chi Chan to score one.  Wu-Hsiung Pan then took a 1-2 pitch down the right field line, racing to third with the triple as two runs scored to pull the Lions to within one and the tying run on third.  Takahito Kanazawa then came on to face the Lions best hitter Kuo-Ching Kao.  He walked him on four pitches to put the winning run on first.  As you can imagine the crowd was going into a frenzy.  My jet lag had long left and with the count 1-0 after throwing four straight balls to the previous hitter Kao, Tai-Chi Kuo swung at the next pitch and grounded the ball weakly to second for the final out.  The groan from the crowd could be heard in Taipei.

Game Notes: The four cheerleaders for the Lions all had dimples the size of Lake Michigan.  Not a lot of impressive physical dance moves, but then myworld believes they are there for their looks and not their cheerleading ability…They must give out lyric sheets to the fans somewhere before the game.  The lead man on the microphone would be constantly chanting some phrase and the crowd in unison would respond back with another phrase.  Similar to Japan, but in Japan they do that in the outfield bleachers with very little participation in the reserved seats.  Here, the chanting was throughout the stadium…The fans all blew balloons in the sixth, but they did not shoot them in the air as they used to do in Japan, until there was some concern of the passing of saliva from the flying balloons.  They just held them for the rest of the game, though most of them were being popped after the Pan triple…They tried a wave in the seventh inning, but it stopped at the end of the third base line.  The outfield seats did not seem too interested in extending the wave.  After the third attempt there was no more…Myworld went up to the concessions after the fifth inning and was amazed to see the line waiting to use the rest rooms for the men.  There were at least 40 people lined up outside the door.  Myworld hopes none of them had to go to bad.  I didn’t see the women’s rest room.  Note to self, go early …Seiichi Uchikawa and Nobuhiro Matsuda combined to get on base all eight times they were up.  Uchikawa walked, singled twice and got on base on an error.  Matsuda singled three times and walked.  The next hitter in the lineup, Yuya Hasegawa got on base in three of his four plate appearances, two on walks and one a hit by pitch…At some point starting second baseman Kuang-Sheng Chou was removed from the game.  My guess is after his crucial error and then strikeout in the bottom of the fifth.  I only noticed that Chih-Hsiang Lin had come in at some point in the game, with no announcement about the change.  They are pretty good about announcing pinch hitters so after his K the manager may have seen enough (his second K of the game) and replaced him with Lin.  Lin walked in the seventh but was then pinch hit for in the ninth (As noted above I have been advised that Lin replaced Chou prior to the error in the bottom of the fifth inning…Kuo-Ching Kao delivered three singles and a walk in five at bats to win the award for the hitting star for the Uni President Lions.

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