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BASEBALL/Giants, Monkeys end in a draw at 90th anniversary Taiwan series

03/03/2024 09:04 PM
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Officials and players of both baseball teams shake hands after the game at Taipei Dome on Sunday. CNA photo March 3, 2024
Officials and players of both baseball teams shake hands after the game at Taipei Dome on Sunday. CNA photo March 3, 2024

Taipei, March 3 (CNA) The visiting Japanese Yomiuri Giants' match against home squad the Rakuten Monkeys ended in a scoreless draw at the Taipei Dome Sunday, concluding a two-game exhibition series in Taiwan held as part of the Tokyo-based pro team's celebrations of its 90th anniversary.

The Giants' explosive lineup, which had a combined 13 hits in Saturday's 4-1 victory over another Taiwanese pro team, the CTBC Brothers, was completely frozen by the Monkeys' five pitchers.

The Tokyo team had only one hit, which came in the bottom of the 5th inning by catcher Yukinori Kishida who grounded a single to the right field from Taiwanese lefty reliever Chen Kuan-yu (陳冠宇).

The Giants had a chance to take the game in the bottom of the 9th inning after pinch hitter Takumi Ohshiro hit a deep high flyball into the center field with one on first base and one out from the Monkey's reliever Shu Chih-hao (舒治浩).

The Monkeys' center fielder Lin Cheng-hua (林政華), however, went back to the warning track and made the catch in front of the outfield wall before throwing it back to first base to complete the double play, ending the game in a 0-0 draw.

Extra innings are not played during the two-game exhibition series.

The Rakuten Monkeys' Lin Cheng-hua. CNA photo March 3, 2024
The Rakuten Monkeys' Lin Cheng-hua. CNA photo March 3, 2024

Compared to the Giants' poor batting performance, the Taoyuan-based Monkeys had a relatively good night offensively with a combined eight hits but were still unable to garner a single run Sunday.

It had a chance to score first after putting runners at second and third bases with no one out in the top of the 3rd inning, but Giants' starter Tomoyuki Sugano managed to deliver two strikeouts and one groundout, achieving three outs without giving any runs.

The Monkeys had another chance to break the scoreless deadlock in the top of the 8th and 9th with runners in scoring positions but were unable to deliver. Both innings ended with double plays and groundouts.

Both team's starters, Sugano and Dominican Pedro Fernandez, each threw three scoreless innings without giving any runs. Fernandez in particular had a successful night, with five strikeouts in three innings, giving up no hits and only one walk.

Meanwhile, Sunday's game had an attendance of 30,890, marking the second consecutive day that the newly-opened Taipei Dome broke the 30,000 mark.

CNA photo March 3, 2024
CNA photo March 3, 2024

Saturday's match between the Giants and the CTBC Brothers had a sellout crowd of 37,890, setting a new record for the largest turnout at a baseball game in Taiwan.

The Giants franchise has the longest history in Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) league, and its home turf Tokyo Dome, established in 1988, is the oldest of the five indoor baseball stadiums in Japan.

The Giants were headed by manager Shinnosuke Abe, a former all-star catcher who played for Team Japan in international tournaments.

A total of 10 players from Taiwan have played for the Giants in the NPB since its founding in 1934. Two of them, former Yomiuri Giants' slugger and now manager of Taipei City Baseball Team Lu Ming-tsu (呂明賜), and retired pitcher Chiang Chien-ming (姜建銘), took part in the ceremonial first pitch event for Sunday's game, with Abe serving as catcher.

(By Joseph Yeh)

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CNA photo March 3, 2024
CNA photo March 3, 2024
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