Huang Kwei-yu (黃貴裕) celebrated his game-winning RBI with teammates to cap off a weekend of nail-biting baseball for the Chinatrust Whales in Sunday's series finale against the league-leading Brother Elephants in Tienmu. His liner to shallow left off Jonathan Hurst not only iced the game 6-5, it also clinched the series for the Whales two games to one to keep his team in the title hunt for the second half of the season.
The series between the two teams began with a 4-1 Elephant victory in Hsinchuang on Thursday night, when Japanese veteran Nakagomi Sin went the distance in a four-hit outing to record his ninth win of the season. The former member of Nippon Professional Baseball's Hanshin Tigers might have saved his spot on the Elephant roster with an outstanding effort on the mound, as the Sunday deadline for teams to name their three foreign players passed.
Offensively for the Elephants, centerfielder Chen Chih-yuan's (陳致遠) two-run single in the seventh put away the otherwise close game that saw the Elephants taking a 2-1 lead.
Game 2 of the series on Friday kept the fans in Hsinchuang on the edge of their seat all night as the game was tied at one-all through the fifth. In the bottom of the sixth, the Whales caught a huge break as the runner from third crossed the plate with two outs on Elephant starter Miguel Martinez's wild pitch. The run was unearned since it took a wild throw to second by Elephant catcher Chen Rei-cheng (陳瑞振) on the previous play to advance the runner all the way from first to third.
The classic pitchers' duel ended in Whale starter Kuo-Lee Chien-fu's (郭李建夫) favor as he outpitched the Elephants' Dominican sensation Miguel Martinez in the 2-1 final.
With the series tied at one game apiece, Sunday's showdown in Tienmu attracted over 7,000 to witness the Whales edge the Elephants in a 6-5 thriller on Whales slugger Huang Kwei-yu's last-at-bat heroics.
The Whales actually took a 5-2 lead after six innings on errors against Elephants third baseman Chen Huai-shan (陳懷山) and reliever Wang Ching-li (王勁力) that led to a pair of runs in the sixth, before the Elephants fought back and scored a run in the seventh, eighth, and the ninth to tie it at five-all.
The President Lions extended their non-losing streak to 13 games by finishing the week with two wins and a tie against the First Securities Agan in Tainan.
The series opener on Thursday marked another spectacular outing for Lion starter John Frascatore, who fanned 11 in a 4-0 complete shutout victory. It was Frascatore's fifth win in a row, after two sub-par starts upon his arrival in July.
The lack of offensive support once again robbed Agan starter Gabriel Ozuna of another potential win as the native of the Dominican Republic allowed one run over 5-2/3 innings in a losing effort. In Ozuna's past seven starts (41 innings) since mid-July, his teammates have spotted him a meager total of one run.
Game 2 of the series on Saturday ended in a 2-2 tie, a game that the Agan should have won, had it not been for Lions third baseman Wu Jia-rong's (吳佳榮) game-tying two-out double in the bottom of the ninth to send the game into extra innings.
Agan starter Lincoln Mikelsen of the US remained winless for the season since joining the team in mid-August in another winnable game, as he allowed two runs on five hits in 8-1/3 innings of work. Sunday afternoon's series finale was an extension of Thursday night's shutout as the Lions blanked the Agan 6-0.