Chen Yong-tseh's solo home run off Robert Averett in the bottom of the seventh inning scored the go-ahead run that broke a 3-all tie for the Chinatrust Whales as they held on to beat the Macoto Cobras 4-3 in Tienmu on Saturday night.
The rookie third baseman drove a belt-high pitch from Averett over the left field wall to lead off the bottom of the seventh. Prior to his hit, the Cobras had just tied the game in the top of the seventh with Chiou Chang-rong's RBI single off reliever Luo Jien-ming. The game was a seesaw battle that featured three lead-changes.
Yang Rei-chih's two-out single with men on second and third gave the serpents a 2-0 lead in the top of the fifth before the Whales, playing at home, fought back with three runs in the bottom of the same inning on three doubles and a single to claim a 3-2 advantage.
Whales starter Tseng Jau-hao pitched six strong innings of two-run ball (both unearned) on eight hits and was in line for his team-best 13th win of the year when he left with a 3-2 lead after the sixth. But Luo was unable to protect the hard-earned lead for Tseng when he left a pitch up over the plate for Chiou in the top of the seventh, allowing a game-tying run.
Shen Yu-jeh entered in the seventh to replace Luo and threw two-and-two-third innings of scoreless relief for his sixth win of the year to deal Averett his second loss of the year.
The loss by the Cobras set them two-and-a-half games behind the Sinon Bulls in their hunt for a playoff berth, virtually eliminating them from the postseason play.
Lions 4, Bulls 2
Three first-inning runs by the President Lions set the tone early in the game as the big cats baffled the Sinon Bulls in a 4-2 decision at Sinjhuang on Saturday night. The win enabled the Lions to maintain a half-game lead over the Bulls for the second-best record in the league.
The Lions scored three quick runs off a shaky Yang Jien-fu, who allowed three singles, two walks and threw a wild pitch in the opening inning to quickly fall behind.
Even though the opening-day starter for the Bulls was able to regroup by allowing only one more run over the next five innings, on the offensive side his team did not produce enough runs to bail him out.
After the Lions tacked on an insurance run in the sixth to lead by a deuce, the Bulls got an excellent scoring chance in the eighth against Lions reliever Lin Yueh-ping when they placed runners on first and second with no outs.
But a failed attempt at a sacrifice bunt by Su Jien-rong that turned into a double play and an ensuing strikeout by Lin, the Bulls' scoring threat promptly ended as the Lions sent closer Tseng Yi-cheng to retire the side in order in the ninth to secure the win.