Bouncing back nicely from their series-opening loss to the Sinon Bulls on Tuesday evening, the Chinatrust Whales tripped up their nemesis with a 3-1 win in Taichung on Wednesday night to salvage a series split.
Dominican starter Lorenzo Barcelo pitched his best start of the season thus far with seven impeccable innings of play, taking a four-hit shutout into the seventh before allowing an unearned run to earn his fifth victory of the year.
The win not only put a timely end to Barcelo's recent four-game losing skid, but also brought him some much needed confidence that could be critical for the Whales' run for the second-half title.
Kao Jung-chiang's solo home run to deep-center off Bulls starter Du Yen-jeh in the bottom of the first quickly put the Whales ahead 1-0 before they struck again two innings later with Wang Yi-min's solo blast and Carlos Villalobos' sacrifice fly to lead it 3-0 after the third.
The game suddenly turned into a defensive struggle for both teams as neither was able to score over the next three innings against the solid pitching of Barcelo and Sinon reliever Kurita Yusuke.
The Bulls finally broke through for their lone run of the game in the top of the seventh on the strength of a Whales error and a single by Wu Bo-hong to set up Yeh Jung-chang's RBI groundout that made it 3-1 in favor of the Whales.
Du Chang-wei took over for Barcelo to start the eighth and allowed a leadoff single before settling in and getting out of the inning unharmed while Kevein Tolar did mop-up duty with a scoreless ninth to preserve the hard-earned victory.
Suffering the tough loss on behalf of the Bulls was Du Yen-jeh, who allowed all three of the Whales runs on five hits over two-plus innings as he dropped to an even 1-1 mark for the year in a rare start.
A lack of timely hitting ultimately cost the Bulls the game as they managed to score only one run on seven hits compared with the Whales' three runs on seven hits in a losing cause.