Back-to-back victories over the La New Bears gave the Macoto Cobras a clean two-game sweep on the road, widening the league-leader's cushion over the second-placed Bears to two and a half games.
Friday night's contest in Kaohsiung had the Cobras jumping to a 1-0 lead in the top of the third when La New pitcher Hsu Yu-wei's throw to second on what would have been an inning-ending double play sailed wide to allow the runner from second to reach home.
The Cobras would add to their lead by a couple three innings later on Ivanon Coffie's two-run homer off Hsu before making it 5-0 in the seventh with RBI-singles by Chen Keh-fan and Yang Rei-chih.
The Bears got on the board in the bottom of the seventh on Lin Jin-ping's first career home run, a two-run shot off Cobras starter Chang Hsien-chih, to cut the deficit to three. But that was all the runs they could manage against the pitching of Chang over seven solid innings before the Macoto bullpen took over with two shutout innings of relief to preserve the 5-2 win.
Chang improved to 3-1 for the season with seven innings of two-run ball on four hits while fanning eight and walking two. He was backed by an efficient Cobras attack that produced five runs on nine hits.
Taking the loss for the Bears was Hsu, who pitched well enough for a win in his first setback of the year.
Cobras 7, Bears 6
Three tenth-inning runs by the Cobras snapped a 4-4 tie before they held off a two-run rally by the home Bears to escape with a 7-6 win in Kaohsiung on Thursday.
Hsieh "the Ugly" Jia-shien homered off Bears closer Huang Jung-chung for two runs before Chen Keh-fan followed with a sacrifice-fly to score the Cobras' third run in the top of the tenth for a 7-4 advantage.
The Bears were able to make a game of it in the bottom of the tenth by plating a pair of runs off Lee Ming-jin, connecting for a single and a double off the Cobras setup man. That was as close as they would get as Lee calmly struck out the final batter with the tying run on third to preserve the win for teammate Travis Minix who threw a perfect ninth for his second win of the year.
Coffie's two-run blast off Bears starter Gary Rath in the top of the second quickly put the serpents ahead 2-0 before they added another run in the inning on Kuo Ming-ren's run-scoring single to make it 3-0.
Both teams would trade a run over the next inning with the Cobras leading 4-1 before the Bears roared for three in the fourth, capped by Huang Long-yi's two-run single off Cobras reliever Chen Jia-hong to force a 4-all tie that lasted until the tenth.
Bears starter Rath pitched his fourth straight eight-inning start, but failed to come away with a win this time as his offense managed to spot him just four runs compared to the six-plus runs per game he received during his three previous starts.
Elephants 12, Lions 9
Hitters had their way in the Brother Elephants' 12-9 road win over the President Lions at Tainan on Friday night as the two clubs combined for 21 runs on 25 hits to embarrass the opposing pitchers.
Trailing 3-1 against the home Lions after three innings of play, the Elephants erupted for six runs in the fourth by batting around the order against Lions starter Rob Cordemans to claim a 7-3 lead.
The Lions responded by ringing up three runs off starter Liu Jung-nan in the fifth on Kao guo-ching's three-run shot to fall within one but the Elephants piled on five more to clinch the victory in convincing fashion.
Peng "Chia Chia" Cheng-min hit his league-leading ninth long ball of the season in the seventh to become the fastest local player to hit nine homers this far into the season (21 games). Next in line for the veteran Elephants slugger will be the fastest to reach the ten-homer plateau record at 23 game, which was set by Jay Kirkpatrick of the Sinon Bulls in 1998.
Elephants 0, Lions 1
Pete Munro recorded his first shutout win of the season by tossing a two-hit gem for the Lions in their 1-0 blanking of the Elephants at Tainan on Thursday night.
The righty also went the distance for the home Lions on just 88 pitches to give the shorthanded Lions staff some much needed rest.
The classic pitchers' duel between Munro and Nick Bierbrodt had both clubs trading zeros on the scoreboard for seven straight innings until the Elephants finally scored the game's only run in the top of the eighth on Chen Lien-hong's sacrifice-fly off game-loser Wang Jing-li that scored the runner from third.