Yang Rei-chih's two-out single off Brother Elephants closer Todd Erdos scored the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth as the Macoto Cobras rallied from a two-run deficit with three late-game runs to beat the Elephants 4-3 in Taichung on Thursday night.
The fourth-year leadoff man for the serpents ended the night with a 3-for-5 effort while extending his hitting streak to five games.
Scoring three quick runs in the bottom of the second against Macoto rookie starter Chen Jia-hong on three singles, a walk and a wild pitch, the Elephants jumped to an early 3-0 lead in a game that had the makings of becoming a blowout.
But that was all the offense that the Elephants could generate in the game as Chen promptly regrouped to retire all but two of the next 13 batters he faced, before fellow setup man Lee Ming-jin and closer James Lira combined for 3-1/3 shutout innings to preserve the win.
Trailing 3-0, the Cobras finally got on the board in the top of the sixth on first baseman Wang Chuan-jia's sacrifice fly off Elephants starter Chuck Smith of the US, before plating three more runs over the final two innings against the previously sure-handed Erdos, who had converted all five of his save opportunities up to that point, for the comeback win.
Yang smashed a clean double off Erdos in the eighth and scored on Wang's RBI single before Hsieh "the Ugly" Jia-shien knocked in another run in the inning with a sacrifice fly to force a 3-3 tie.
Picking up the win was Lee, who entered the contest two outs into the sixth and kept his team in the game with 2-1/3 innings of scoreless relief to beat Erdos in a close win.
As for Smith, who pitched seven solid innings of one-run ball on eight hits and five strikeouts in a no-decision, it was a game that the Elephants should have won had Erdos not faltered with a late-game collapse.
Elephants 6, Cobras 1
Leaving nothing to chance in Friday night's rematch at Taichung, the Elephants beat the Cobras in a 6-1 decision behind a three-hit effort by starter Joey Dawley.
The American right-hander won his fourth straight start by allowing a lone Cobras run on three hits to improve to 8-5 for the season.
Similar to the previous night, the Elephants held a 3-1 lead after seven innings of play against their archrivals, with reliever Wang Jing-li taking the mound to start the eighth. And the veteran righty delivered by retiring all three of the Cobras he faced before Erdos redeemed himself by turning away the last three Cobras hitters to secure the win.
Rookie slugger Chen Guan-ren capped a three-run third for the Elephants with a two-run homer off Macoto ace Lin "Little Chick" En-yu to put his team up 3-0, before the Cobras answered with a run of their own in the fourth to make it 3-1 in favor of the Elephants.
The score remained at 3-1 until the bottom of the eighth when the Elephants struck for three more insurance runs off Macoto reliever Felix Villegas to run away with the win
Lin was tagged with the loss for surrendering the three Elephants runs in the second, even though only one of three runs he allowed was earned.
Bears 3, Bulls 2
The La New Bears avenged an ugly 13-3 loss to the Sinon Bulls in Kaohsiung on Thursday with a narrow 3-2 triumph in Friday night's contest to keep a two-game lead over the second-place Elephants in the latest standings.
Sinon veteran Tseng Yang-chih gave his club a 1-0 lead in the top of the second with his first home run of the season on a pitch from La New rookie Tsai Ying-fong before the hosts responded by claiming a 2-1 lead in the third with shortstop Lin Chih-sheng's two-run single off game-loser Billy Sylvester of the US.
The Bears increased their lead to 3-1 in the fourth on outfielder Tseng Hao-jui's lining single down the first base line that scored what turned out to be the game-winner as the Bulls managed to plate just one more run in the sixth on a sacrifice fly by Tseng to close within a run of the league-leaders.
Dominican righty Ramon Morel took over the game with one on and one out in the seventh and shut down the Bulls the rest of the way with some help from his defense for his fourth save of the year.
Right fielder Tsai Jien-wei's rifling throw to the plate on a single by Chang Jien-ming just beat a sliding Yeh Jung-chang trying to score from second for the potential game-tying run to end the last scoring threat by the Bulls.