Wang Chuan-jia kept the Macoto Cobras' postseason hopes alive with a pair of homers in leading his team past the Sinon Bulls in a 9-5 win at Taichung on Tuesday night.
The win cut the Bulls' lead over the Cobras for the third-and-final spot in the upcoming postseason to one-and-a-half games with a handful of games remaining in regular-season play for either team, taking the already-heated race between the two clubs to another level as the season winds down.
The game began with the serpents establishing their offense early against Sinon starter Takekiyo Kouji with three quick runs through the top of the third, capped by back-to-back solo home runs from Wang and fellow slugger Hsieh "The Ugly" Jia-shien.
Trailing 3-0, the Bulls would answer with three runs of their own in the bottom of the third off Macoto ace Lin "Little Chick" En-yu with three singles and a rare triple, and actually take a 4-3 lead in the fourth on Yu Hsien-ming's RBI single off the Little Chick.
A run in the sixth by the Cobras tied thing s up at 4-all before they claimed a 5-4 lead in the seventh on a balk by Sinon reliever Billy Sylvester that scored the runner from third.
Chou Si-chi's two-run single off the Bulls' Yang Jien-fu with the bases loaded ignited what turned out to be a four-run eighth that sealed the win for the Cobras as they blew the game wide open with four singles and drew two walks against Yang.
Despite a sub-par performance, Lin was credited with his league-leading 17th win of the year for pitching eight innings of five-run ball (four earned) on eight hits.He also recorded three strikeouts in the game to add to his record-setting single-season strikeout total of 206, giving the second-year right-hander 209 for the year.
Whales 6, Bears 4
The Chinatrust Whales extended their season-high winning streak to eight straight with a 6-4 win over the La New Bears in Kaohsiung on Tuesday evening, dealing the regular-season champs their fifth defeat in a row.
Showing no signs of slowing down despite having been eliminated from the playoffs for more than two weeks, the Whales outhit the top offense in the league by an 11-8 margin, ringing up five runs against Bears' starter Anthony Fiore to chase the American hurler after three-plus innings of play.
Spotted with a five-run cushion, Whales rookie starter Su Tseh-yi did not exactly hold his ground, as he allowed three runs to the Bears before being relieved in the fourth in a 5-3 ball game.
Huang Hsiao-wei's opposite-field double in the bottom of the sixth got the Bears within a run of the Whales, only to see Wang Hsin-min knock in an insurance run for the visitors an inning later, ending all the scoring for the night at 6-4.
Right-hander Chu Wei-ming earned the win for his five-and-two-third innings of one-run relief, sending Fiore to his third loss of the year.
Elephants 1, Bears 0
Hsiao Ren-wen won his first start in eight years by shutting out the Bears on Monday night in a 1-0 decision over the La New Bears for the Brother Elephants in Kaohsiung.
The longtime setup man extraordinaire made the most of a rare start by shutting down a potent Bears attack -- that leads the league in total offense with over six runs per game -- over six stellar innings of total dominance off the mound.
The lone hit that he gave up was a broken-bat single to Shih Chih-wei in the third that somehow made its way through the left side of the Elephants infield.