Tue, Sep 30, 2003 - Page 19 News List

Sinon Bulls get last laugh

FINAL FLING The on-form Elephants were heading for a three-game sweep, but the Bulls rallied in the final game to secure bragging rights ahead of the final series


Sunday's matinee contest between the Sinon Bulls and the Brother Elephants in Hsinchuang concluded regular season play between the two squads.

The 5-1 final in favor of the Bulls prevented a clean sweep by the Elephants in the three-game series and forced a 10-all split between the two rivals in their 20 regular season meetings, which further highlighted the evenness between the two clubs ahead of the Championship Series.

Pitching for the first time in nearly six weeks, Bull starter Tsai Chung-nan (蔡仲南) allowed just one run on four hits in seven strong innings in a brilliant performance. The victory netted Tsai his 10th win of the season and gave the Bulls' fans a glimpse of hope in finishing the season in grand fashion. After winning the first-half title with relative ease, the Bulls have not been as dominating in the second half primarily because a serious shoulder injury has sidelined Tsai for some time.

Last season's Rookie of the Year, who won nine games for the Bulls in the first half could have given the Bulls at least five more wins during the time he missed to keep pace with the Elephants.

Tsai's roaring return to the mound could very well be the missing piece in the Bulls' march to its first Championship trophy because he can be the third starter behind team ace Jeff Andra and Osvaldo Martinez to solidify a rotation that formerly had only two legitimate starters.

Offensively for the Bulls, the three triples during the four-run sixth in Sunday's contest not only tied the league record for most triples in an inning, but also convinced skipper Chen Wei-cheng (陳威成) that his lineup hasn't lost the potency it once had.

The Lions followed their two shutout wins over the Makoto Gida earlier in the week with a 10-2 rout on Friday night. The win kept their title hopes alive for the day until the Elephants' title-clinching win in Tienmu on Saturday night.

Picking up where they left off in games 1 and 2 of the series, the Lions offense spotted starter Jose Parra of the Dominican Republic a five-run first-inning lead on five hits.

The lead proved to be ample because Parra kept the Gida off the board in the six innings he pitched by yielding only a pair of hits and fanning three. It wasn't until the top of ninth that the Gida offense finally broke through for two runs against Lion reliever Shen Po-chang (沈柏蒼) to snap their record-setting 36-inning scoreless streak.

Having learned that their postseason hope had been eliminated by the Elephants' victory over the Bulls earlier on Saturday, the Lions fell short in their rally against the Gida in Tainan as they lost by a score of 1-4.

Gida starter Shad Williams went the distance in the two-hitter as he pocketed the first win of the season. Williams had been winless in his six previous starts since joining the team in early August.

Thursday night's 4-3 thriller gave the visiting Chinatrust Whales the last laugh against a home First Securities Agan squad that led for most of the game.

In a classic seesaw battle, the Agan struck first with a pair of runs in the first. It wasn't until the top of the eighth that the Whales knotted the game at 2-all with two straight wild pitches by Agan reliever Hsu Wen-hsiung (許文雄) that scored the runner from third twice during the same at-bat.

The Agan would retake the lead in the bottom of the eighth on right fielder Tsai Shih-fan's (蔡士凡) solo homer, only to see it disappear an inning later. The bottom of the order for the Whales managed to string together three straight hits against Agan closer Lee Fong-hua (李風華) to put the Whales up for good.

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