Sun, Jul 27, 2003 - Page 24 News List

Taiwan's own now starts for Colorado

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL Tsao Chin-hui has made an indelible mark in the record books of America's beloved sport as the first Taiwanese to pitch in the big leagues

By Paul Huang  /  CONTRIBUTING REPORTER WITH AP , DENVER, COLORADOAP, BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS

Chin-Hui Tsao of Taiwan is seen on the scoreboard with a blank slate of statistics as he started his first Major League Baseball game for the Colorado Rockies in Denver, on Friday.

PHOTO: REUTERS

Tsao Chin-hui (曹錦輝) became Major League Baseball's first Taiwanese pitcher and won in his debut as the Colorado Rockies beat the Milwaukee Brewers 7-3 on Friday night.

Tsao allowed three runs on eight hits in 6 1-3 innings, and Larry Walker and Preston Wilson homered for Colorado, which won for just the third time in nine games since the All-Star break.

Tsao played in front of nearly 40,000 fans and the win silenced doubters concerned with the 22-year-old's recent direct promotion to the majors from Double-A Tulsa, completely skipping any playing time with the Rockies' Triple-A affiliation in Colorado Springs.

"The team wanted to give him [Tsao] as much big league exposure as possible to help prepare him for the future," Tsao's agent Dean Yuan (袁定文) of the Naluwan Corp told local media at a post-game press conference. "That's why he is playing in the majors now, instead of in September."

During the game, Tsao quickly learned why Coors Field is referred to as "the pitcher's grave" as he watched his second pitch of the game to Brewers leadoff man Eric Young sailed over the left field fence for a solo home run.

The Brewers would make it 2-0 in the second inning on pitcher Wes Obermueller's run-scoring single, after collecting two straight hits off Tsao to put runners on the corners.

The Rockies offense came right back in the bottom of the same inning as it cut the lead in half on third baseman Chris Stynes' two-out RBI single to give Tsao some much needed assurance.

That seemed to have an effect on Tsao because he would settle in and retire nine of the next 11 batters that he faced, giving up only a single and a walk in three scoreless innings.

The Rockies bats then suddenly came alive and pounded Brewers starter Obermueller for three runs in the bottom of the fourth, highlighted by back-to-back blasts by all-star centerfielder Preston Wilson and right fielder Larry Walker to give Tsao his first lead of the game at 4-2.

The Brewers made things interesting against Tsao in the top of the sixth on right fielder John Vander Wall's solo home run to deep right to make it 4-3. But the youngster kept his composure and stopped any further damage with three quick outs to close out the inning.

Tsao remained in the game with a 4-3 lead and one out in the seventh frame before he was relieved by left-hander Javier Lopez with a runner on first.

Lopez would strike out the next two batters to end the threat in the seventh and lead the way for relievers Adam Bernero and Justin Speier who held the Brewers scoreless the rest of the way to preserve the 7-3 victory for Tsao.

The native of Hualien gave up three runs on eight hits and fanned five in 6-1/3 innings of play for the game.

"Overall, it was a decent outing for Tsao," Richard Wang, CPBL director of international affairs, said in a telephone interview with the Taipei Times from Coors Field. "I wish he had more ground-outs [4] than fly-outs [10], because any fly ball has a chance to be gone in [the thin air of] Coors Field."

The Rockies' coaching staff was pleased with Tsao's performance despite his shaky start.

"I was very pleased with his effort, especially since the second bullet he fired up there ended up in the left-field bleachers," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle told the American media. "I thought he was very resilient, he was very focused."

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