Shih Jin-sho's pinch-hit single with one out, the bases loaded and the Lions outfield drawn in plated the winning run in the bottom of the ninth as the Chinatrust Whales edged past the President Lions 4-3 in Sinjhuang on Tuesday evening.
The veteran catcher, who has spent most of the season on the Whales bench with an occasional start in the interest of grooming budding star Wang Hsin-min, rose to the occasion by lining the pitch from Lions reliever Tsao Jung-yang over the head of the Lions outfield for the clincher.
"I am glad that I can contribute; it doesn't matter if I am starting or coming off the bench," Shih said as he accepted the game MVP award.
Shih's club has quietly won three straight after losing four of their previous five.
Tilson Brito's league-leading 26th homer of the year, a solo shot over the left field wall off Whales starter Lorenzo Barcelo, got the Lions on the board in the opening inning for a quick 1-0 lead before the Whales answered two innings later with Gee Jung-lin's two-run double in the bottom of the third to claim a 2-1 advantage.
The Whales would add another run in the sixth with Hsu Ren-jeh's leadoff homer in the inning to make it 3-1.
Trailing by two with ace starter Pan "Du Du" Wei-luen's 12-game wining streak on the line, the Lions hitters finally came through against the solid pitching of Barcelo in the seventh by scoring their second run of the game on an RBI single by rookie sensation Pan Wu-hsiung. The Lions plated the tying run in the top of the eighth off Lions reliever Kevin Tolar on Liu Fu-hao's clutch single to bail Du Du out of a loss.
Picking up the win for the Whales was Tolar, who threw one-and-two-thirds innings of scoreless relief on one hit to improve to 3-2 for the year.
Suffering the tough loss was Tsao, who entered in the ninth and immediately ran into trouble by allowing a double and a single to put runners at the corners before walking the next batter to load the bases for Shih's knockout punch.
Tsao is now 4-3 with six saves to his credit.
The loss by the Lions was their second straight after winning nine in a row to claim a top spot in the league standings.
They now lead the second place La New Bears by one game.
Elephants 8, Cobras 1
Six unanswered runs by the Brother Elephants in the final two innings broke open a tight 2-1 game as they toppled the Macoto Cobras 8-1 to kick of the week with a big win in Hsinchu on Tuesday night.
Peng "Chia Chia" Cheng-min's two-out double off the Cobras Hsu Chu-jien in the top of the fourth broke a scoreless tie to give the Elephants a 1-0 lead before the two teams traded a run each in the seventh on Liu Geng-hsin's one-run double for the Elephants and Chen Yuan-jia's RBI single for the serpents to make it 2-1 in favor of the men in the golden uniforms.
Then came a vicious Elephants stampede that erupted for four runs in the eighth, highlighted by Yang bo-ren's two-run single, to up their lead to a commanding 6-1 before they tacked on two more in the ninth on switch-hitting Chen Huai-shan's two-run homer to conclude the scoring.
Brother starter Yeh Yong-jeh was credited with the win for pitching five-and-one-third innings of shutout ball on five hits.
The handsome right-hander clearly wanted to remain in the game when he was pulled in the sixth and saw fellow reliever Todd Moser nearly blow the narrow lead in the seventh before breathing a sigh of relief during the four-run eighth to win his fourth of the year.