Hsieh "The Ugly" Jia-shien's towering solo home run to deep center off Sinon Bulls starter Clint Weibl broke a scoreless tie in top of the fifth inning as the Macoto Cobras went on to beat the defending champs in a 3-1 decision at Sinjhuang Saturday night.
The home run champ from last season smashed a knee-high offering from the American righty and deposited it into the centerfield seats for his league-leading sixth homer, one more than the Bulls' Chang "Prince of the Forest" Tai-shan.
Amaury Garcia of the Dominican Republics followed Hsieh's lead with a clean double and scored on catcher Wu Jau-hui's RBI single one out later to give the serpents a 2-0 advantage.
Tseng Hua-wei got the Bulls on the board in the sixth with a run-scoring single off Bulls starter Lin "Little Chick" En-yu to half the Cobras lead at 2-1, but that was all the offense that they managed to produce against a stingy Bulls staff as they fell to the previously slumping Cobras in only their second loss in six games.
The showdown between the league's two premier starters lived up to its high expectation with the Cobras' Lin getting the last laugh on six innings of two-hit ball with eight strikeouts before Lee Ming-jin and Puerto Rican newcomer Felix Villegas combined for three shutout innings of relief to preserve the win.
Dropping his first decision in six starts, Weibl fell victim to a lack of run support in another quality start as he missed the chance to be the league's first five-win man.
Whales 5, Elephants 1, Game 1
Elephants 10, Whales 7, Game 2
The Chinatrust Whales played to split a double header against the Brother Elephants at Douliou by winning the day game 5-1 before falling to the Elephants 10-7 in the night cap.
Game 1 had the Elephants jumping to a 1-0 lead in the top of the second on outfielder Chen Huai-shan's liner to right that scored first baseman Tsai Fong-an, who reached on a fielding error by the Whales to start off the inning.
Three straight hits following a leadoff walk would score a pair of runs for the Whales in what ended up being a five-run third as Whales went ahead for good in the game.
Whales starter Tseng Jau-hao improved to 3-0 for the first time in his career with eighth innings of seven-hit ball, allowing the lone run (unearned) for the Elephants in the early going.
As for the Elephants, American lefty Brian Rodaway had five of the seven hits he allowed for the game all bunched up in the fatal fifth, wiping out what was otherwise five innings solid work.
His spot on the Elephants rotation may be in danger as a result of his tendency to give up big innings, allowing three runs or more runs in a single inning in two of his past four starts.
The night game was tied at 3-3 after three innings of play before the Elephants stomped out five more runs in a two-run fourth and three-run fifth, highlighted by Chen Huai-shan's bases-clearing double off Whales reliever Edwin Minaya to claim a comfortable 8-3 lead.
Chinatrust pulled off three meaningless runs in the final two frames after the Elephants had added to their lead by two to make it 10-4 in the seventh.
Brother set-up man Hsiao Ren-wen was the big beneficiary of an opportunistic Elephants attack that rang up a dozen hits and a poor Whales defense that committed four errors in the game for his first win of the year. He surrendered a run on four hits in three innings of relief for the Elephants.