By Jason Pan / Staff reporter
The Lamigo Monkeys cranked out three big home runs to trounce the Uni-President Lions 10-3 and claim the Taiwan Series at the Taoyuan International Stadium last night, their sixth championship.
The 4-2 series scoreline confirmed the Monkeys as the most dominant CPBL team of the past decade, with five titles since 2012.
Lamigo first baseman Chen Chun-hsiu took the Series MVP award after batting at .500 throughout the series to go with clutch hits.
Lamigo manager Hong Yi-chung received the trophy on behalf of his players.
“All the credit goes to the coaching staff and players for their outstanding performance,” Hong said.
“We have won the championship for the second year in a row and next year we will go for three in a row,” he said.
“It has not been easy; there was lots of pressure on us when we lost the second and third game in the series, but we returned home to Taoyuan and made adjustments,” he said.
“It is fantastic to win the championship in front of our home fans,” he said.
Two US pitchers started the game, with Michael Nix for Lamigo, while the Lions countered with Josh Roenicke on the mound.
The Lions got on the board first through shortstop Yang Chia-wei’s cracking double to drive in a run in the top half of the second frame.
It did not take long for the Monkeys to reply.
In the bottom of the inning, catcher Lin Hong-yu smashed a solo homer to level the scores.
Lamigo’s core line-up ignited in the fourth inning, pushing home three runs against Roenicke.
Slugger Wang Po-jung earned a walk on four balls to start the rally, before clean-up hitter Chen Chun-hsiu slapped a grounder up the middle, on which an error by a Lions outfielder allowed Wang and Chen to reach second and third.
Lin earned his second RBI of the night, punching a sharp line-drive single through the left side.
Outfielder Chu Yu-hsien drove in another run from third base on a sacrifice fly, before shortstop Lin Cheng-fei hit an RBI-single to collect the third run in the rally.
Lamigo were in front 4-1, but the tenacious Lions did not quit.
In the next frame, the Lions’ top order closed the gap, with leadoff hitter Chen Chieh-hsien ripping a double and outfielder Su Chih-chieh pounding a single to send Chen home, making it 4-2.
Two innings later, with Nix departed, the Lions had a pinch-hitter on with a walk after one out. The same combination clawed back another run, with Chen Chieh-hsien’s single allowing Su a second RBI on a single to right field.
The visitors trailed by only one at 4-3 at the top of the seventh.
However, in the bottom half of the frame, facing new pitchers Andy van Hekken and Wang Chin-ming, Lamigo exploded for six runs to put the game out of reach and fans began celebrating victory.
Third baseman Kuo Yung-wei blasted a solo homer to open the floodgates, then Lamigo increased their lead with runs from Wang Po-jung’s RBI single and Lin Hong-yu’s sacrifice fly.
Chu ended all hope for the Lions, when, with two runners on, he connected on a fastball for a three-run homer.
Lamigo Monkeys left-fielder Chu Yu-hsien cheers after smashing a three-run home run against the Uni-President Lions’ relief pitcher Wang Ching-ming in the second half of the seventh inning of Game 5 of the Taiwan Series at the Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium yesterday. Photo: Lin Cheng-kung, Taipei Times
Lamigo Monkeys players celebrate winning the CPBL championship two years in a row after beating the Uni-President Lions 10-3 in Game 5 of the Taiwan Series at the Taoyuan International Stadium yesterday. Photo: Chen Chih-chu, Taipei Times Photo: Chen Chih-chu, Taipei Times