Wang Chuan-jia's two-run, bases-clearing double off President Lions reliever Tsao Jung-yang capped a five-run eighth for the Macoto Cobras as they overcame a late-game deficit to beat the Lions 6-2 in Tainan on Wednesday for their third straight win.
The veteran slugger had no mercy against his former team of seven years and a hostile Tainan crowd that thought the home cats were finally going to win a game to snap their four-game losing skid, by lining a belt-high offering from Tsao to put the game away for good.
Trailing 2-1 in the top of the eighth, Kuo Ming-ren's two-out RBI single up the middle off Lions starter Jeriome Robertson not only scored the game-tying run for the serpents, but also chased the US lefty, who pitched brilliantly by allowing a run on three hits through the seventh.
PHOTO: CHANG CHUNG-YI, TAIPEI TIMES
In came reliever Shen Bo-chang, who did not fare any better as he surrendered consecutive base hits to the Cobras' Kao Wei and Lin "Wild Hog" Hong-yuan to fall behind by a run before being relieved by bullpen mate Yen Chuen-hao.
The lefty setup man who was brought in to face the Cobras' Hsieh, also a lefty, was also unable to record what would have been the inning-ending out as Hsieh managed to reach first on a funny bounce that scored the third run in the inning for the Cobras, setting the stage for Wang's two-run double that sealed the win.
The contest began with the Cobras getting on the board with a quick 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Kao drew a walk from Robertson, advanced to third on a single by Lin and scored on Hsieh's sacrifice-fly.
The lead lasted less than an inning as the Lions answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the second on back-to-back walks off Cobras starter Hsu Chu-jien to take a 2-1 lead.
Neither team would score again in the low-scoring affair, with Robertson retiring 14 of the next 15 Cobras he faced and Hsu and fellow bullpen mates Chuang Jing-heh and Huang Chin-chih combining for five scoreless innings of one-hit ball to bring the game to the decisive eighth.
Huang was credited with his first win in nearly three years for pitching a perfect seventh to beat Robertson, who remained winless at 0-3 despite throwing seven strong innings of two-hit ball before faltering in the eighth to suffer the loss.
Bears 7, Elephants 0
Gary Rath pitched eight solid innings of shutout ball and Pan Chung-wei drove in three runs to help the La New Bears blank the Brother Elephants 7-0 in Taichung on Wednesday night.
The US southpaw has allowed a run on eight hits while fanning 13 and walking one in 16 innings over the past two games to quietly earn the distinction of being the staff ace.
As for Pan, the veteran slugger has gone 4-for-9 with five RBIs in the past two games to power his team to three victories in a row.
His second hit of the game, a towering solo home run off Elephants reliever Wu Jung-yi leading off the eighth, came as a natural exclamation mark after a potent Bears attack. The Bears averaged over six runs in their past five games.
Wasting no time against their archrivals from Taipei, the Bears hitters threatened to score in each of the first two innings by placing runners in scoring position. They finally did so in the third against Brother starter Joey Dawley by plating three runs for a quick 3-0 advantage.
The Bears tacked on another run in the fourth by capitalizing on an Elephants error before building a 5-0 lead in the seventh when Lin Chih-sheng drilled a lining double to deep-left that knocked out Dawley.
Five Bears hitters had multi-hit games on the night, with Pan's 2-for-4 effort with three RBIs leading the way.
Picking up his second straight win was Rath who threw eight magnificent innings for the second also for the second straight game, allowing a run on only two hits for his league-leading third win of the season.
Suffering the loss was Dawley, who fell victim to no run support from his offense as he dropped to 1-1 for the year.
Cobras 15, Lions 7
The Cobras took no prisoners in their 15-7 thrashing of the Lions in Tuesday night's series opener in Tainan by teeing off against the home cats in a 16-hit slugfest.
The Cobras hitters let their bats do all the talking by ringing up three long balls off Lions starter Rob Cordemans in four-plus innings to build an 8-1 cushion.
Brazilian righty Kleber Ojima cruised through six innings for his second win of the year, giving up three runs (two earned) on four hits with four strikeouts.
Taking the loss was Cordemans, who served up all three of the Cobras' homers in an eight runs-on-nine hits outing for his second loss of the season.
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