Home runs lit up the Douliou sky in the contest between the La New Bears and the Chinatrust Whales on Thursday night as the Whales prevailed in an eventual 11-6 final.
The hitters had their way in the game as they racked up eight combined homers on a 25-hit night to embarrass the pitching staff of both clubs.
Leading the long-ball parade was Whales shortstop Cheng Chang-ming, who went deep against the Bears pitching two times to collect four RBIs in the game. Cheng's first, a three-run blast off Bears starter Gary Rath, put the leviathans ahead 5-0 in the bottom of the fourth, while the second was a solo shot over the leftfield wall off Bears reliever Liang Rue-hao in the bottom of the eighth.
PHOTO: WANG YI-SUNG, TAIPEI TIMES
The Bears also showed off their potent bats with four homers in the game, three of which came during a five-run seventh off two Whales hurlers to tie a club record for most homers in a single inning.
Kao Jung-chiang's solo shot off Rath in the bottom of the second got the Whales on the board before Wang Yi-min's sacrifice fly knocked in Gee Jung-lin, who stretched the hit into a triple leading off the bottom of the third to make it 2-0.
After the Whales added three more runs to their lead with Cheng's three-run homer in the fourth, the Bears finally plated a run in the top of the fifth with Chen Fong-min's solo shot to deep left off Whales starter Tseng Jau-hao to make it 5-1.
The Whales quickly answered with four more runs in the bottom of the same inning, highlighted by designated hitter Tseng Han-chou's three-run dinger off Bears reliever Hsu Chih-chang.
Trailing 9-1, the Bears managed to score five in the seventh on homers by Lin Chih-sheng, Chen Chin-fong and Chiang Chih-tsong to cut the Whales lead to 9-6. But that was as close as they got as the Whales added a run each in the seventh and eighth to seal the win.
Starter Tseng earned his first win of the year with 6-2/3 innings of solid work despite serving up a pair of homers, allowing three runs on seven hits while fanning two and walking two.
Picking up the loss was Rath, who lasted 4-1/3 innings by allowing seven runs on nine hits. He struck out three and walked one.
Bears 8, Whales 1
The La New Bears returned the favor in the second game of the series against the Whales by humbling them in an 8-1 trouncing in Taichung on Friday night to split the series at one game apiece.
Starter Hsu Wen-hsiung pitched five magnificent innings for his first win of the season, throwing one-run ball on two hits before reliever Horacio Estrada and closer Huang Jung-chung combined for four shutout innings on a lone hit to finish off the Whales.
Offensively for the Bears, Chen Chin-fong's solo homer off Du Chang-wei leading off the sixth capped a brilliant 3-for-5 night while upping his league-leading home run total to four as the former major-leaguer continued to show exceptional power and bat speed against the pitchers around the league.
The bottom of the Bears order, consisting of Tseng Hao-jui, Chiang Chih-tsong, and Chen Fong-min also added an RBI each to their credit to complement the heart of the order that also accounted for three RBIs in the game.
Pocketing the loss was Du, who allowed five runs on eight hits in five frames in his first setback of the year.
Cobras 10, Elephants 7
The Macoto Cobras took two straight from the Brother Elephants in their two-game set at Sinjhuang by outscoring their opposition by a combined margin of 22-18.
Thursday night's contest saw a potent Cobras attack that strung together three three-run innings turn back the Elephants.
RBI singles by Lin Hong-yuan, Chiou Chang-rong and Chen Keh-fang put the Cobras ahead 3-1 in the bottom of the second before they made it 6-1 in the third with three more runs, courtesy of Ivanon Coffie's three-run homer off Elephants reliever Liu Jung-nan.
The Elephants were able to halve the Cobras lead in the fourth with a pair of runs off starter Hsu Chu-jien on Peng Cheng-min's two-run shot, which made the score 6-3.
Coffie's second blast of the game off Liu sparked a three-run sixth for the Cobras who enjoyed a 10-3 advantage after the eighth before the Elephants knocked in four runs in the ninth.
Hsu was credited with the win as he improved to 2-0 for the year.
Cobras 12, Elephants 11
Friday's rematch between the two clubs featured five lead changes in a high-scoring affair before the Cobras ran away with a 12-11 win on the strength of Kuo Ming-ren's clutch single that scored the game-winner in the bottom of the eighth.
The third-year shortstop delivered a two-out single with runner on second to score the game-winning run that broke an 11-11 tie.
Veteran Cobras slugger Wang Chuan-jia reached a career milestone in the game when his towering solo home run represented the 500th RBI in his 14-year career.
Earning the win was closer Travis Minix, who entered the game in the eighth to cool off an Elephants lineup that had scored three runs in the inning to force an 11-11 tie.
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