Pete Munro pitched his second complete-game shutout of the year with a three-hit gem and Tilson Brito hit his league-best 27th homer of the year to pace the President Lions past the Sinon Bulls in a 6-0 win in Hsinchu on Friday evening.
The US right-hander improved to 10-4 for the year with the impressive win to help the Lions take a two-and-a-half game lead over the second-place La New Bears in the standings, while lowering his league-leading ERA to a miniscule 1.72.
Doing the damage with his red-hot bat for the Lions was Brito, who went deep against Sinon starter Tsai Chung-nan on a splitter that never dropped for a three-run blast on a four-RBI night to increase his RBI total for the year to 75.
Three straight base hits by the Lions in the top of the first quickly led to a 2-0 lead for the visitors before the Bulls hitters even had a chance to hit.
Tsai would regroup in a hurry and pitch effectively for the next four innings before being relieved by Japanese veteran Kurita Yusuke, who was not as fortunate as Tsai when an error by his defense and a clean single by the Lions' Pan Wu-hsiung put runners on first and second. This set the stage for Brito's unforgiving swing, which sent a pitch deep into the centerfield seats for a three-run shot and a 5-0 lead in the sixth.
The Lions would score another run in the inning to make it 6-0.
The Bulls had a chance to break up the shutout in the bottom of the ninth against Munro, when their leadoff man reached on a Lions error before Tseng Jing-fong ripped a single to shallow left to put runners on first and second against the US hurler.
But Munro was able to retire the next batter on a lazy fly that held the runners before getting Chang "Prince of the Forest" Tai-shan to ground to third for a perfectly executed double play to end the game.
Tsai was tagged with the loss despite throwing five innings of two-run ball on five hits for his third setback of the year, falling victim to a lack of run support and a struggling bullpen that failed to keep the game close during the middle innings.
Brito's sixth-inning homer extended the Lions' homer streak to 10 games, tying the team with the 1992 and 2002 Brother Elephants for the record for consecutive games with at least one homer.
Elephants 8, Bears 2
The Brother Elephants avenged a 5-0 shutout loss on Thursday with a convincing 8-2 road win over the Bears in Kaohsiung on Friday night to salvage a split in their two-game set with the defending champs.
The top of the Elephants order had a huge game with all three players connecting for two hits and at least one RBI each, led by Lin Ming-shien's 2-for-5 effort.
Liu Geng-shin extended his hitting streak to four games with a pair of singles along with an RBI.
Peng "Chia Chia" Cheng-min's two-out single with a man on second scored the Elephants' first run in the first inning before they increased the lead to 6-1 in a three-run second and a two-run third.
After a scoreless fourth through the sixth, the Elephants would go on an offensive tear again, this time with Chen Guan-ren's RBI double leading the way. Liu then followed with his second single in the game to drive home the second run of the inning for the Elephants.
Offensively for the home Bears, Lin Chih-sheng's solo blast to deep left field off Elephants reliever Wang Jing-li, his second home run in three days, marked the lone highlight for a lineup that was held to just seven hits for the second straight game.