Capitalizing on four costly errors by the Uni-President Lions’ defense that led to five unearned runs, the La New Bears topped their foes 8-3 at the Kaohsiung County Baseball Stadium on Saturday night.
The win kept the Bears’ hopes of a first-half title alive as they trail the top-ranked Cats by just half a game in the standings, adding even more drama to the tight race between the two clubs.
Saturday night’s contest began with the visiting Lions striking first in the top of the first when Jose Castillo got a hold of a pitch from Bears starter Chang Chih-jia and deposited it into the left-field seats for a two-run blast.
The hosts hit back with a solo homer of their own from Lin Chih-sheng in the bottom of the same inning off Lions ace Pan “Du Du” Wei-luen that cut the lead by half. They tied the game up in the third when Chen Chin-fong lined an opposite-field single to the right to score a runner from third.
Neither offense would score again over the next two innings until a throwing error by Yang Dong-yi on what would have been an inning-ending double play with runners on first and second, scoring a runner from second to give the Bears a 3-2 lead in the sixth.
Miscues on the part of the Lions defense would prove costly in what ended up being a five-run seventh for the Bears as Castillo misfielded a sharp grounder to third by Huang Hao-rang with the bases loaded that scored all three runners after the Bears had struck for two more runs earlier in the inning.
Trailing by six, the Lions managed to plate a run in the ninth, but it was too little too late.
Picking up the win for the Bears was Chang who improved to 6-4 for the year as the former hurler for the Seibu Lions in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball League allowed two runs on nine hits over six frames.
Taking the loss was “Du Du,” who surrendered seven runs (only two earned) on 10 hits over six-and-a-third innings of work to drop to 7-5 for the year.
• Lions 10, Elephants 7
• Bulls 13, Bears 5