CPBLIt could not have come at a better time. Huang Chung-yi's 100th career home run, a walk-off solo shot to dead-center off Brother Elephants reliever Wu Bao-shien in the bottom of the tenth, gave the Sinon Bulls a 1-0 win in their series-opener at Taichung on Tuesday night.
The homer put the 14-year veteran in good company with teammate Chang "Prince of the Forest" Tai-shan as the only two players in league history to reach the 1000-hit, 100-homer, and 100-stolen base plateau with 1459 hits and 158 stolen bases in an illustrious career.
"It's been one long, tough ride for me over the years," Huang said after the game reflecting on his long and accomplished career.
"I didn't think I could do it [reach the 100-homer milestone]," he added.
Huang began the season with 97 homers to his credit and had been sitting on number 98 since June 30, before last Saturday's number 99.
Alfredo Gonzalez of the Dominican Republic and American righty Chuck Smith both pitched well for the Bulls and the Elephants respectively, with nine shutout innings of work apiece before Huang's blast settled things up at the end in dramatic fashion.
Neither starter ended up with a decision in the game as the victory went to Bulls reliever Kuo Yong-chih for tossing a scoreless tenth while his counterpart Wu suffered the devastating loss for yielding the historical homer to Huang.
The shutout loss upped the Elephants' losing streak to five straight while extending their scoring drought to 35 innings and counting, one shy of the league record of 36 set by the Macoto Cobras over a tough mid-season stretch in 2003.
Cobras 3, Lions 2
The Bulls' 1-0 win was not the only one-run game on the night as the Macoto Cobras capitalized on an early defensive miscue by the President Lions for a narrow 3-2 road victory in Tainan.
Yang Rei-chih led off the game with a clean double off Lions starter Tsao Jung-yang and scored two batters later on Hsieh "the Ugly" Jia-shien's RBI single to right before Lions shortstop Luis Ugueto's throwing error on a would-be inning-ending double play scored another run to put the Cobras on top 2-0.
The Lions would get a run back in the bottom of the third when Kuo Dai-chi's two-out single off Cobras starter Chang Hsien-chih brought home the runner on second to half the Cobras lead to 2-1.
Thomas Brice's rare triple off Tsao in the top of the fifth scored the runner all the way from first for the serpents' third run of the contest which proved to be the difference in the game as the Lions rang up another run in the seventh to remain within striking distance.
Unfortunately for the cats, that was as close as they got as relievers Jose Santiago and James Lira Cobras each pitched a perfect inning late in the game to preserve starter Chang's seventh win of the year.
Offensively for the Lions, four different batters had two hits for the game in which they actually outhit the Cobras by a slim 10-9 margin.
Taking the tough loss was Tsao who allowed three runs (two earned) and eight hits over five innings to drop to a 2-5 record for the year.
The Detroit Tigers lost second baseman Placido Polanco to a shoulder injury that caused Ivan Rodriguez to play second base, then beat the Boston Red Sox 3-2 Tuesday on Craig Monroe's ninth-inning pop single.
Boston fell three games behind New York in the American League East.