Chen Chin-fong's walk-off homer off reliever Huang Chin-chih in the bottom of the 11th inning lifted the La New Bears past the Macoto Cobras in a 5-4 win in Kaohsiung on Saturday night as the Bears won their third in a row to reclaim a half-game lead over the serpents in the latest standings.
The battle between the top two clubs in the league went into extra innings with the Bears' Tseng Hao-jui coming up big in the bottom of the ninth with a solo blast off Cobras ace closer Travis Minix to tie the game at 4-all, spoiling what would have been a huge road win for the Cobras.
Then, after the Cobras failed to make a play on a pop-up in foul territory by Chen, the former US major leaguer made the Cobras pay dearly by depositing the next pitch from Huang over the leftfield wall for his league-leading fifth dinger of the year to complete the valiant comeback.
Jiang Chih-tsong's two-run hit in the bottom of the second off Macoto reliever Yang Chi-jia quickly put the home Bears ahead 2-0 before the Cobras rattled off four unanswered runs over the next three frames, highlighted by Lin "Wild Hog" Hong-yuan's monster solo home run in the top of the fifth.
Trailing 4-2, the Bears would get one of the two runs back in the bottom of the sixth when Chen led off the inning with a triple and scored on Pan Chung-wei's sacrifice-fly to cut the Cobras lead to one, setting the table for Tseng's game-tying homer in the bottom of the ninth.
Huang Jung-chung improved to 3-0 for the year with his third win as a reliever. He pitched three shutout innings of two-hit ball to give the Bears offense just enough time to get to Chen's game-winner.
Pocketing the loss for the Cobras was Huang Chin-chih, who fell victim to a dropped ball by catcher Chen Keh-fang on the foul pop by Chen Chin-fong, which might have averted the loss for the former first-round draft pick.
Whales 7, Elephants 5
Yeh Chang-long's tie-breaking RBI single in the 11th inning was followed by Hsu Ren-jeh's opposite-field liner to score another run to give the Chinatrust Whales a 7-5 win over the Brother Elephants in Douliou on Saturday night to snap a two-game losing skid.
Hiroshi Fujimoto's single with a runner on second scored what looked to be the go-ahead run for the Whales in the top of the 10th, only to have the Elephants answer with a run of their own in the bottom of the same inning on Chen Jiang-heh's sacrifice fly with the bases juiced to send the game into the 11th frame.
Wang Jin-yong's liner to right, which was mishandled by a Whales outfielder, enabled the Elephants' runner to score all the way from first for a quick 1-0 lead in the top of the second. The score climbed to 2-0 two outs later on Huang Cheng-wei's RBI single.
The Whales would halve the Elephants' lead to 2-1 in the top of the fourth on Chen Jien-wei's one-run double, only to see the men in the golden uniforms put another two runs across in the bottom of the fifth to give them a 4-1 advantage.
Three straight runs by the Whales offense over the next two innings would tie the game up at 4-4 by the end of the seventh before the late-game drama really began.
Timely hitting by Whales was the key to their success in the game as six of their dozen hits came with runners in scoring position, compared to an Elephants attack that managed only four runs over the first five innings on twelve hits to allow the Whales back in the game.