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Taiwan's Kuo Chun-lin overcomes rocky start to win Japan debut

2015/03/29 19:30:15

Taipei, March 29 (CNA) Taiwanese pitcher Kuo Chun-lin (郭俊麟) got off to a shaky start in his debut in Japan's professional baseball league but survived and was credited with the win in the Saitama Seibu Lions' 5-4 victory over the Orix Buffaloes on Sunday.

Kuo, who signed with the Lions after impressing at the 21U Baseball World Cup in Taiwan in November 2014, retired the Buffaloes in order in the first inning but nearly didn't make it out of the second.

The Buffaloes quickly tagged the 23-year-old rookie for three runs on two singles, an RBI sacrifice fly by Takahiro Okada, and a two-run homer by Eiichi Koyano on a hanging breaking ball, to take a 3-1 lead.

They then reloaded the bases on two singles and a walk, but Kuo extricated himself from danger by retiring the next two hitters on a strikeout and line out to first.

He threw another three innings without allowing a run and left the game after the fifth inning with the Lions in front 4-3.

The Lions added an insurance run in the seventh, which proved to be the margin of victory when the Buffaloes pulled within a run in the bottom of the ninth.

Kuo admitted after the game that he was nervous in his first professional outing and felt fortunate to get the win, but he was feeling much better by the time he was pulled from the game after having thrown 102 pitches.

"The manager asked me after the fifth inning if I wanted to stay in there. I did but the manager said I'd already thrown enough pitches and there was a long season to go," said the right-hander.

Kuo made a strong impression last year as an amateur with an impressive outing against South Korea in the gold medal game at the Asian Games and seven shutout innings against Japan in the final of the 21U Baseball World Cup in November, won by Taiwan 9-0.

(By Yang Ming-chu and Jeffrey Wu)