Huang Hsiao-wei's pinch-hit, RBI triple off President Lions closer Mike Garcia capped off a two-run ninth that turned the tables for the La New Bears as they beat the Lions 2-1 in Tainan on Sunday to win the three-game series, also by a 2-1 margin.
Holding on to a 1-0 lead at the top of the ninth, the Lions sent normally sure-handed Garcia to the mound to close out the game. But after inducing a quick out, Garcia gave up an uncharacteristic three hits in a row, including two triples, to trail the Bears for the first time in the game.
Even though the Lions would ring up two more base hits in the bottom of the ninth against the Bears pitching, Chen Jia-wei was caught stealing second before reliever Lee Fong-hua got pinch hitter Tseng Yang-chih to hit into a double play to end the game.
Lee earned his fifth save of the season for preserving the win for setup man Nerio Rodriguez, who pitched a scoreless eighth to improve his record to 1-1.
As for Garcia, the league's premier closer over the past two seasons with 40-plus saves, he still leads Taiwan's Chinese Professional Baseball League with 17 saves this season.
Lions 5, Bears 1
Lin "Wild Hog" Hong-yuan's two-run home run off Bears starter Wu Si-yo in the bottom of the third gave the Lions a 3-0 lead that they would not relinquish as they downed the Bears 5-1 in Kaohsiung on Friday to even the series at one game apiece.
Chen Lien-hong's run-scoring single in the second brought home Darryl Brinkley, who led off the inning with a stand-up double, to put the big cats on the board early in the game.
Lions starter Jose Espinal limited the Bears lineup to three hits over the eight innings he pitched for his first win since joining the Lions in late-August. He was a run shy of a shutout victory when Bears slugger Lin Chih-sheng drilled a pitch over the left-field fence for a solo blast in the top of the seventh.
Bears starter Wu allowed four runs on eight hits in five shaky innings for his fourth setback of the season. The promising lefty who had been plagued by injuries throughout the year is now 6-4 with a 3.52 ERA.
Bears 9, Lions 0
La New got off to a tremendous start by blanking the Lions on the road 9-0 in Thursday's series opener at Tainan.
American righty Chris Wright extended his winning streak to four straight by going seven strong innings on a three-hit effort to lower his ERA to a season-best 2.63 (sxith best in the league).
Offensively for the visiting Bears, outfielders Huang Long-yi and Chang Min-yen went a combined 6-for-10 with five RBIs to lead an attack that forced three errors by the Lions defense in addition to drawing a season high ten walks for the game.
Game-loser Chang Chih-chiang lasted less than four innings on a wild night where he walked six and had a pitch sail wide.
Fellow reliever Leo Estrella, who entered into the game in the fourth, did not fare any better either as he surrendered five more runs over the next 3-2/3 innings (none earned) in his second game as a Lion.
Other CPBL games
The Sinon Bulls were a game short of sweeping the Chinatrust Whales in their four-game series last week.
Thursday's 3-1 loss not only kept the defending champs from sweeping the series against the marine creatures, it snapped ace of the staff Lenin Picota's three-game winning streak and a chance for his 15th win.