Close play dominated league action on Saturday night with the President Lions edging past the struggling La New Bears 7-6 at the Taipei County Baseball Stadium in Sinjhuang and the Brother Elephants blanking the Chinatrust Whales 2-0 at the Taipei Municipal Baseball Stadium in Tienmu.
It was the second straight game that the Bears had lost by the same 6-7 margin following Thursday night’s defeat at the hands of the Whales with two late-game rallies that fell short by a run each.
Saturday night’s contest saw the Lions jumped all over newly joined Bears starter Chang Chih-jia with four early runs in the top of the second highlighted by Yang Seng’s two-run double with the bases loaded.
The 4-0 lead would last less than an inning as the home Bears countered with four runs of their own on the strength of an RBI-single by Yu Jin-deh and a three-run homer by Huang “Easy” Long-yi off Lions starter Louis Pote.
After Pote wasted away the four-run lead that his offense had generously spotted him, he would get another chance in the third with a three-run advantage, courtesy of a three-run blast to deep-left by Kao Chih-kang that chased Chang.
Only this time, Pote was more prudent with the lead as he allowed a run to the Bears in the bottom of the third to make it 7-5.
He then pushed his luck to the limit three innings later in the sixth by hanging on to a 7-6 lead before his bullpen bailed him out with four innings of scoreless relief to preserve his league-leading sixth win of the year.
Suffering the loss on behalf of the Bears was Chang whose Taiwanese professional debut following a short but effective stint with the Seibu Lions in Japan was a flop as he allowed all seven of the Lions’ runs in only 2-2/3 innings.
Whales 0 Elephants 2
The Brother Elephants ended the week of play on a high note with a 2-0 shutout against the Chinatrust Whales in Tienmu to sweep the two-game set against the marine creature and extend their non-losing streak to four in a row.
Liao Yu-cheng struck out ten over eight shutout innings of play for the victorious Elephants to improve his team-best record to 5-0 while fellow catcher Kuo Yi-fong took care of business on the offensive end by going 2-for-3 with an RBI to help his team win two games with just four combined runs in the week.
The pitchers’ duel between Liao and his counterpart Shen Yu-jeh of the Whales was a scoreless gridlock after five quick frames before the Elephants finally broke through with a run in the sixth on a clutch two-out single by Chen “Golden Warrior” Chih-yuan to lead it 1-0.
They would tack on an unearned run in the seventh for insurance with Kuo coming up big on another two-out single to score the runner from second. That was all the runs that either team could muster as Liao was in full control through the eighth on 134 pitches before handing the game over to Mai.