In just his second game as a La New Bear in Taiwan's Super Baseball League, Chen Chin-fong recorded his first home run to help his team beat the President Lions 7-6 in Kaohsiung on Wednesday.
The three-run blast off Lions starter Lin Yueh-ping over the right-center wall in the bottom of the third inning not only gave the Bears a 6-1 lead, it also fulfilled the high expectations that all had for the country's first major leaguer.
The home run also came with a little more drama than Chen may have liked, as his misjudgment on a routine fly ball to left field (eventually ruled a hit by the official scorer) in the ninth inning nearly cost the game for the Bears.
"In all the time that I have played this game, I have never made an error as off as that one," Chen said.
The game began with the hosts taking it right to Lin, with Canadian slugger Todd Betts belting a two-run base hit in the bottom of the first for a quick 2-0 lead.
After the Lions answered with a run of their own in the top of the second on third baseman Chen Jia-wei's single off Bears starter Chris Wright, the Bears came back in the bottom of the second Lions second baseman Yang Seng's two-base fielding error.
Trailing 6-1 after Chen's homer in the third, the Lions scored twice in the fourth on left fielder Yang Song-hsuen's two-run double to make it 6-3.
Lin Chih-sheng drew a bases-loaded walk off reliever Cheng Bo-ren that made it 7-3 in favor of the Bears in the sixth, which did not seem too important at the time.
The Lions then rallied for three runs in the top of the ninth against Bears closer Huang Jung-chung to come within a run.
Hsu Chih-hua's four-and-a-third innings of hitless relief work earned him the win and the game MVP honor as the former first-round pick fanned seven in his first game of the season.
Lin took the loss for allowing six of the seven Bears runs (four earned) on four hits in only two innings of work.
Cobras 2, Bulls 1
Wang Chuan-jia's ground ball to first off Sinon Bulls closer Jorge Cortez with runners at the corners scored the game-winning run for the Macoto Cobras as they beat the Bulls 2-1 in Sinjhuang on Wednesday.
Manager Liu Rong-hua's decision to stay with reliever Lee Guo-ching after Lee had issued a leadoff walk to start the ninth inning backfired for the defending champs as the Cobras made them pay with the knockout punch late in the game.
Cobras reliever Jose Paniagua was credited with the win for getting the final two outs after starter Fernando Hernandez pitched a four-hit beauty to keep the high-powered Bulls offense down to a lone run over seven frames.
American righty Clint Weibl was magnificent in his first start for the Bulls, with seven-and-a-third innings of two-hit ball.
The former University of Miami standout entertained the fans at one point with five consecutive strikeouts, mesmerizing the Cobras lineup with a slue of nearly unhittable pitches.