Records were shattered in Tainan on Friday night as the President Lions' Tilson Brito set new league marks by launching his 32nd homer and driving in his 103rd RBI of the year in a wild 12-11 Lions victory over the Macoto Cobras.
The Dominican slugger who rewrote the record books with an incredible year at the plate knew it the second he crushed a pitch by Cobras starter Lin Jing-min for the historic homer.
Perhaps overshadowed by Brito's outstanding individual performance, Kao Guo-ching also connected for his career-high 18th homer of the year, a two-run shot that rallied the Lions from one down to run the Cobras out of town in a slugfest that featured 23 combined runs on 33 total hits to keep the Lions' slim lead over the second-place La New Bears at a half-game.
The contest began with the Cobras pounding out five straight hits off Chang Chih-chiang to chase the Lions starter before he recorded even an out. The offensive outburst was highlighted by Deng Shih-yang's two-run homer to help the Cobras jump out to a quick 5-0 lead.
The Lions would get two of the five runs back with Kao's opposite-field single to cut the lead to 5-2 in the bottom of the first, but back-to-back RBI singles by Chou Si-chi and Wang Chuan-jia took the serpents' lead back to five at 7-2 in the top of the second.
The Cobras struck again for three more runs in the third inning to claim a 10-2 advantage.
Just when all thought the Lions had been tamed by the Cobras fangs, the home cats showed why they are the best in the business with eight unanswered runs over the next three innings, capped by a four-run fifth that saw the them bat around to knot the game at 10-all.
Having wasted a once-sizable eight-run lead, the Cobras promptly regained an 11-10 edge in the sixth on Deng's one-run single up the middle, a lead that would last for two innings until Kao's thunderous swing turned the game around in the eighth inning.
Picking up his second save of the year was Tsai Shih-chin, who pitched a scoreless ninth against his former team, to preserve the win for setup man Pan Jung-rong. Pan recorded three outs in the eighth for his second win of the season.
Hit with the tough loss for the Cobras was reliever Andy Van Hekken, who served up Kao's two-run homer in a blown save opportunity despite the fact that his team actually outhit the Lions 18-15 in the game.
Bears 11, Whales 3
Unlike Thursday night when a ninth-inning single by Shih Chih-wei was needed to win the game against the Cobras, the La New Bears beat the Chinatrust Whales in an 11-3 decision in a wet Kaohsiung County Stadium on Friday evening to keep pace with the Lions in the close title race.
Tsai Ying-fong tossed six effective innings of three-run ball, while Lin Chih-sheng and Jiang Chih-tsong drove in a pair of runs each to make it look easy in the Bears' 200th team victory.
Chinatrust actually drew first blood against Tsai in the opening inning on a sacrifice fly by top RBI man Carlos Villalobos to lead it 1-0 before the Bears fought back with four runs in the bottom of the same inning.
All four of the Bears runs were unearned in the first as a fatal error by the Whales defense that missed a chance to turn what would have been an inning-ending double play to bail out starter Shen Yu-jeh.
Tsai shook off a questionable first inning with five shutout innings through the sixth to take a 4-1 lead.
The hapless Whales hitters were unable to do any damage while the Chinatrust pitching staff surrendered two more runs to make it 6-1 in favor of the Bears.
It would take Yeh Chang-long's solo homer in the seventh off Tsai to give the Whales their second run of the game before they tacked on another to reduce the Bears advantage to 6-3.
And that was as close as they got as the Bears showcased more offense in the bottom of the same inning with five unanswered runs to seal the win.
Uncertainty grips next year’s postponed Tokyo Olympic Games: Will there be fans or empty stadiums in 14 months? How will thousands of athletes, staff members and technical officials travel, be housed and stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic? And the Tokyo Games are not the only event. China, where COVID-19 was first detected, is to hold three mega-sports events in the year after the Tokyo Olympics are set to close. The World University Games in Chengdu, China, are to open, with up to 8,000 athletes, only 10 days after the Tokyo Games close. Next come the Beijing Winter Olympics beginning on Feb. 4, 2022,
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