Tue, May 20, 2003 - Page 19 News List

Agan continues to sink during series with Whales

By Paul Huang  /  CONTRIBUTING REPORTER

After showing some signs of life in two losing, yet valiant efforts on Tuesday and Wednesday by a combined margin of three runs against a powerful ChinaTrust Whales club, the First Securities Agan went back to its old form in games 3 and 4 of the series, losing by a combined score of 4-25 on Friday and Saturday.

While newly named Agan skipper, Tsai Rong-tsung (蔡榮宗), was busy shuffling his pitching staff to take on the Whales hitters, Whales manager Lin Chung-chiou (林仲秋) enjoyed some sorely missed peace of mind as he saw three of his four regular starters came off the disabled list.

"My number-one concern is the DL list," Lin told reporters prior to last Tuesday's series opener in Chiayi. "I hope some of them [injured players] will be back before the end of the week to help our ball club."

The story of the series was the continued offensive fireworks that Whales third baseman Juan Melo demonstrated as he finished the four-game series with an awesome 6-for-16 performance, including 10 RBIs.

The switch-hitting native of the Dominican Republic already has two homers in the six games since his arrival two weeks ago.

The four-game series was the only one of the three that finished in its entirety over the weekend, because wet weather forced both games originally scheduled for Sunday in Tienmu (Sinon Bulls verses Brother Elephants) and in Hualien (President Lions verses Makoto Gida) to be rescheduled for a later date.

The Elephants dominated the league-leading Bulls in a 5-0 shutout on Thursday in Kaohsiung, behind the stellar performance of starter Wu Chun-yi (吳俊億), who is 5-0 against the Bulls dating back to last season, and is in the middle of a four-game winning streak this year.

Not having lost a series all season long, the Bulls fought back the next night in Taichung to even the series at one game apiece with a 3-1 triumph.

Starter Tsai Chung-nan (蔡仲南) kept the Elephant hitters off balanced all night as he gave up the only run by the Bulls, while scattering five hits over six innings of work. Relievers Yu Wen-ping (余文彬) and Osvaldo Martinez combined to pitch three scoreless frames to preserve the win for Tsai.

Offensively for the Bulls, third baseman Chang Tai-shan (張泰山) extended his league-leading home run total to 12 for the season after he sent a pitch from Elephants starter Nakagomi Sin into the right-center bleachers.

The Elephants missed opportunities all night as they managed to put runners on base during every inning, only to fell victim to four double plays.The series ended in a tie, because game 3 will not be played until June 16th in Hsinchuang.

Game 1 between the Lions and the Gida in Hsinchuang on Thursday ended in a 3-3 draw as a controversial double-play call by the third base umpire and the home plate umpire in the top of the eighth ended what could have been a big inning for the Lions. Instead of having men on second and third with one out, the call ended the scoreless Lion eighth.

Upon further review by the CPBL's officiating committee, both umpires were suspended for two games. The tie snapped the six-game losing streak for the Lions, but cost starter Joe Davenport his ninth win of the season. Only one of the three runs given up by the hard-throwing ace from the US was earned, as he missed a golden opportunity to add to his league-leading eight wins.

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