Yang Jien-fu outpitched longtime friend and respected rival Pan "Du Du" Wei-luen in the Sinon Bulls' 3-0 blanking of the President Lions at Tienmu on Saturday night for his 12th victory of the year.
The pitcher for the defending champs has overcome a series of injuries that kept him out of the starting lineup for a good part of the season to overtake the team's lead in total victories and regain his team-MVP status.
Saturday's contest saw Yang take a one-hit shutout one out into the eighth inning before he was relieved by Alfredo Gonzalez of the Dominican Republic with a 3-0 lead and a man on first.
Gonzalez would allow the next two batters to load the bases via a single and a walk before getting Yang Seng to ground out into an inning-ending double play to keep the shutout intact.
Premier closer Kuo Yong-chih took the mound to start the bottom of the ninth inning and also allowed a pair of runners onto the bases before striking out two of the final three Lions hitters he faced for his league-leading 15th save of the season.
Offensively for the resurgent Bulls, winners in seven of their past nine games, outfielder Chang Jien-ming's 3-for-4 batting with an RBI led an attack that pounded out 11 hits against the Lions.
Taking the tough loss in his sixth complete-game outing of the year was Pan, who surrendered three runs in yet another quality start, but failed to come away with the win.
Whales 8, Cobras 1
Mike Lockwood hit his second home run in as many games to power the Chinatrust Whales past the Macoto Cobras in an 8-1 rout in Saturday's other game at Hsinchu.
With the bases loaded and his team already having hit into two double plays during the first four innings of play, the American slugger broke a 1-1 draw by blasting Cobras starter James Lira deep to right field in the top of the fifth inning for his first grand slam in Taiwan. The home run by Lockwood capped a five-run fifth inning that sent Whales starter Tseng Jau-hao to his ninth win of the year in an impressive performance in which the ace allowed just one run on five hits over eight impeccable innings of work.
Tseng had missed a golden opportunity for his ninth win in his previous start when a three-run, ninth-inning rally by the La New Bears turned what looked to be a sure-win into a 3-all tie.
Also starring for the Whales at the plate was Brian Becker of the US, who went 3-for-5 with two doubles and an RBI in the game despite hitting into two of the three double plays that the Whales had on the night.
The win by the Whales salvaged a 2-2 series split for them after they had dropped the first two games to the Cobras earlier in the week.