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BASEBALL/Chen Chun-hsiu, Brothers secure extra-inning win on walk-off homer

05/06/2024 09:41 PM
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Taipei, May 6 (CNA) Chen Chun-hsiu (陳俊秀) made a powerful statement on his arrival at the CTBC Brothers Sunday by clobbering a walk-off home run in the 11th inning to lift the team to an 8-7 win over the Fubon Guardians.

The Brothers have won all their of their extra-inning games in the 2024 season, the first year the Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) introduced an extra-innings tiebreaker rule.

Stepping to the plate with two outs and the game tied at 7-7, the former CPBL Home Run Derby champion smacked a 145-kilometer per hour fastball by Lin Wang-shi (林旺熙) to deep center field for his fifth walk-off hit in the league.

Prior to the game, Chen had recorded four walk-off hits, all of them homers. The latest one placed the 35-year-old veteran in a tie with Wei Chuan Dragons infielder Ngayaw·Ake', his cousin, as the CPBL's all-time walk-off home run leader.

Ngayaw·Ake', who has hit 303 home runs, is also the league's all-time home run leader.

"I told myself to seize the chance after our captain's homer because I didn't make it last time. I just wanted to hit the ball to the outfield as deep as possible," Chen said, when receiving the MVP of the Game award for his second dinger of the season.

"I enjoyed everyone cheering for me on our home turf."

Chen's was the second home run in the bottom of the 11th, coming two outs after a 2-run game-tying shot by Brothers captain Wang Wei-chen (王威晨).

With no one out and Yang Siang-he (楊祥禾) automatically placed on second base as the ghostrunner according to the extra-innings tiebreaker rule, the four-time all-star wasted no time in tying the game, sending Lin's first pitch onto the deck in right field.

Lin soon retired the next two batters, including recovering from a line drive hit into his lower back by Hsu Chi-hung (許碁宏) and picking up the ball near the pitcher's mound to throw Hsu out at first base, before Chen drew the game to a close with his big swing.

The game was tied at 5-5 after the regular innings, and neither team scored in the 10th.

The Guardians started the 11th inning with a walk, putting baserunners on first and second base. The team then capitalized on an error by catcher Kao Yu-chieh (高宇杰), who threw the ball into left field when attempting to throw a baserunner out at third base.

The error led to the Guardians' 6-5 lead, after which the team further extended the lead by one more run on a sacrifice fly, though they failed to hold onto the lead.

The Brothers improved their record to 13-10 to remain in second place, five games behind the 19-6 Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions. The Tainan-based franchise defeated the Rakuten Monkeys 5-3 at home the same day.

Also on Sunday, the defending champion Dragons shut out the TSG Hawks for a 7-0 win, partly thanks to Chang Cheng-yu's (張政宇) two-run home run that put the team on the board.

The shot in the second inning in Chang's 800th plate appearance was the first in his four-year career, and saw him take Euro steps back to home plate in celebration of the long-awaited achievement.

The Dragons remained in third place after the game with a 12-13 record, while the Hawks, now 6-17, continue to struggle at rock bottom in the six-team league.

(By Hsieh Ching-wen and Chao Yen-hsiang)

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