Jeriome Robertson pitched eight solid innings of one-run ball and Pan Wu-hsiung hit a tie-breaking, two-run triple as the President Lions topped the Sinon Bulls 6-1 in Tianmu on Sunday night.
The win was not only the Lions' third in their past four, but also booked a postseason berth for them as they added to their narrow half-game margin over the Bulls by a full game in the hunt for home-field advantage during the first round of play in the upcoming postseason.
Wang Tzu-song's RBI groundout off Billy Sylvester of the US gave the Lions a quick 1-0 lead in the top of the second before the home Bulls answered an inning later when Chang Jien-ming drew a bases-loaded walk off Robertson to tie the game up at 1-all.
That was all the scoring that either team could manage through the first six innings against the stellar pitching of Robertson and Sylvester until Pan's liner to the left-center gap off Sinon reliever Yu Wen-pin in the top of the seventh that just missed the outstretched glove of Sinon centerfielder Tseng Hua-wei for a triple which sent both runners home to put the Lions ahead 3-1.
The Lions would tack on another run in the eighth off Yu before scoring a pair of unearned runs off Sinon reliever Lu Ming-chuen in the ninth for a runaway win, sending the defending champs to their fourth straight loss.
Robertson improved his season mark to 8-2 with the win, allowing four hits while fanning six to beat his counterpart Sylvester, who gave up two runs on six hits despite recording a season-high of 10 strikeouts over six innings of work.
Whales 6, Cobras 2
Five unanswered runs by the Chinatrust Whales turned a 2-1 deficit into a 6-2 win over the Macoto Cobras in Sinjhuang on Sunday evening, running the marine creatures' winning streak to a season-high of seven straight and counting.
The win virtually guaranteed the Whales a winning record for the second half (currently 23-19-4 with four games remaining), capping off a magnificent turnaround that saw them ascend from a dead-last 17-31-2 mark in the first half to the second-best record in the league in the second half.
Sunday's contest began with the Whales drawing first blood in the bottom of the second on an RBI groundout by designated hitter Tseng Han-chou before the serpents countered with two unearned runs of their own in the top of the third off Whales starter Derrick Van Dusen to claim a 2-1 lead.
That was all the offense that the struggling Cobras could produce against Van Dusen as the US lefty shook off some early jitters to retire all but three of the next 20 batters he faced and finish with his first complete-game win of the year.
Offensively for the Whales, the big bats that had averaged six runs per game during their seven-game winning streak finally came alive after a sluggish first couple of innings, with a dozen hits against three different Macoto pitchers to finish out the game strong, led by Mike Lockwood and Chen Jien-wei's combined 4-for-7 batting with a pair of RBIs each.
Suffering his fifth defeat of the year was Cobras starter Yang Chi-jia, who allowed four runs on nine hits in six innings of work, striking out five and walking none.
The loss by the Cobras left them no margin of error as another defeat in their remaining three regular-season games would surely deny them a chance to play in the postseason.