Sat, Aug 02, 2003 - Page 20 News List

Tsao falls short as Reds edge Rockies

WORK TO DO The Taiwanese star managed to scrape a no-decision, but was hit for four runs in a disastrous second inning that undid some promising work

By Paul Huang  /  CONTRIBUTING REPORTER WITH AP

Part two of the Tsao Chin-hui (曹錦輝) show fell short of expectation on Thursday night as the 22-year-old youngster from Hualien lasted only 4-1/3 innings in a no-decision effort for the Colorado Rockies against the Cincinnati Reds in Cincinnati.

Tsao allowed four runs on eight hits, all in the second inning, before he was relieved by Aaron Cook in a 4-4 tie in the bottom of the fifth.

The Rockies ended up losing the game in the bottom of the tenth on Red catcher Jason LaRue's solo blast off the Rockies' left-hander Brian Fuentes in a 5-4 final.

Evident in his three hit-batsmen, Tsao struggled with his control all night as his curveballs, sliders and changeups all had a hard time finding the strike zone. Without those pitches working for him, Tsao could only throw mainly fastballs, which the Red batters sat on all game. Even though Tsao's fastballs were consistently hitting 130kph, the Red's lineup exploited him as they batted around the order in the disappointing four-run second inning.

"He is lucky they [the Reds] didn't put up more runs than they did," Richard Wang, Director of Public Relations with the CPBL said after the game. "Had it not been for the Reds' poor base-running in the third, they would have scored even more runs."

Reds' third baseman Russell Branyan was tagged out at second after he thought the inning had ended with teammate LaRue being tagged out at home plate when there were only two outs. The mistake cost the Reds at least two runs in the inning.

"He was in a hurry all night," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said of Tsao. "His command was below average. He didn't have much tilt on his breaking ball. He was spinning them, and he didn't have much command on his fastball."

Hurdle pulled Tsao in the fifth after the Taiwanese star hit a batter for the third time. The decision was an appropriate one because it left Tsao with a no-decision for his second start in the majors, instead of a potential loss, which could affect the young pitcher's confidence.

"It was a good learning experience for him [Tsao], because hitters in the big league are not as forgiving as those in the minors." Hsu Sheng-ming (徐生明), pitching coach for the Chinatrust Whales, was quoted as saying by local Chinese media after the game. "He is still very young; if he can soak up all that he has learned so far like a sponge, I am sure he will do very well in the future."

Hsu hopes to land Tsao in the upcoming Asian Baseball Tournament in Sapporo, Japan, the top two finishers from which will represent the Far East in next year's Olympics in Athens, Greece.

"Hey, everyone gets hammered sometimes, that's life in the majors," Tsao was quoted as saying after the game. "I didn't have my best stuff today, but I am sure I will get these guys next time."

Tsao's positive attitude may just be what he needs to break out of this minor setback.

Cubs 9, Giants 4

In Chicago, Sammy Sosa hit a three-run homer and Carlos Zambrano won his third straight start as the Chicago Cubs beat the San Francisco Giants.

Sosa's 23rd homer of the season capped a four-run sixth inning for the Cubs. Sosa, who missed 24 games earlier in the season because of a toe problem and the corked-bat suspension, had 13th homers in July, the most in the major leagues, and 29 RBIs.

Expos 3, Cardinals 2

In Montreal, Vladimir Guerrero homered and drove in all three runs, moving past Gary Carter into second place on Montreal's career homer list with 221, four behind Andre Dawson.

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