The La New Bears continued their mastery over the Brother Elephants on Sunday with a 9-3 victory in Tainan to take the four-game series 3-1.
After Wednesday's 2-0 loss in the series opener at Pingtung, the league-leaders won three in a row by a combined scoring margin of 26-7 to reclaim a four-game lead over the Elephants in Taiwan's Chinese Professional Baseball League standings.
The Bears attack led 2-0 in the top of the third inning on Sunday with consecutive scoring singles by first baseman Pan Chung-wei and shortstop Lin Chih-sheng off Elephants starter Yofu Tetsu after the first two Bears hitters reached base via a pair of walks.
The visiting Bears added to their lead by three in the fifth inning to make 5-0 when designated hitter Chen Chin-fong smashed a two-run homer off Yofu before outfielder Lu Jung-hsiung followed with another RBI double.
Tsai Fong-an's two-run blast off Bears starter Tsai Ying-fong in the bottom of the fifth inning cut the Bears' cushion down to three, only to see the Bears answer with a four-run sixth inning on Chen and Lu's run-scoring singles and catcher Chen Fong-min's two-run double.
An inefficient offense for the Elephants was to blame for the loss as the 11 hits that it collected off the Bears staff only produced three runs, compared to the Bears' 16 that drove in nine runs. Their collective 1-for-12 batting with runners in scoring position stranded a total of 15 runners, making the job for Yofu (4-2) unimaginably difficult as the Japanese righty.
Benefiting from the high-powered offense was Bears starter Tsai (3-3).
Lions 6, Bulls 6, 11 innings
Shaky relief by the bullpen late in the game cost the President Lions the win in Tianmu on Sunday night as they settled for a 6-6 tie against the Sinon Bulls after 11 innings.
Top closer Tseng Yi-cheng entered the game in the ninth inning with a 6-5 lead and immediately surrendered a leadoff single to Bulls pinch-hitter Chen Tsung-fu on a bad-hop grounder to short, before yielding a blooper single to Chang "Red Monkey" Jia-hao after an unsuccessful sacrifice bunt by the Bulls to put runners at the corners with one out.
Tseng Hua-wei promptly hit a sacrifice fly to deep-center to score the tying run as the Bulls forced the game into extra innings in a contest that lasted nearly four hours.
Bulls starter Clint Weibl of the US complained about the low pitching mound at the Tianmu Baseball Stadium, but still managed seven innings of three-run ball (two earned) on seven hits and seven strikeouts in another quality start, despite allowing a pair of solo homers to the big cats' Kuo Dai-chi and fellow countryman Bryant Nelson.
The Lions took a 2-0 lead after three innings of play on Kuo's solo shot off Weibl in the second and a defensive error by the Bulls that scored a run in the third.
After the Bulls halved the Lions lead to 2-1 on catcher Yeh Jung-chang's high bouncer up the middle in the fourth inning they put up four more runs in the sixth inning on the strength of three singles off Lions reliever Cheng Bo-ren and two costly errors by the Lions defense (five errors for the game) to take a 5-2 lead.
The Bulls' lead lasted only two innings as the Lions went back on top 6-5 with a three-run eighth inning on an RBI groundout by Yang Song-hsuen and a pair of run-scoring singles from infielders Yang Seng and Luis Ugueto of Venezuela.