Fri, Oct 17, 2003 - Page 24 News List

Elephants edge out Bulls in Game 4 of big series


Peng Cheng-ming's (彭政閔) final grab of the lazy fly by Huang Chung-yi (黃忠義) in the bottom of the ninth ended the Sinon Bulls' two-run surge to gave the Brother Elephants an emotional win by a final score of 5-4 in Game 4 of the 2003 Taiwan Series.

The stage seemed set for the most dramatic come-from-behind victory in the history of the Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) when the hosts blasted two back-to-back homers in the bottom of the ninth to put the Bulls within a run of the defending champions, after having been shutout in the seven previous innings. Much to the dismay of the Bulls faithfulls, the rally fell one-run shy.

The game began with the Elephants taking an early 2-0 lead in the top of the second when catcher Chen Rei-chang's (陳瑞昌) blooper to shallow left dropped in for a two-run single off of Bulls starter Yang Chien-fu (陽建福).

Elephants' all-star slugger Chen Chih-yuan's (陳致遠) hit an RBI double in the third inning. The play was scored a double by the game official, even though Bulls center fielder Tseng Hua-wei (曾華偉) possibly kept Chen on first base.

It was the first of two doubles that Chen Chih-yuan hit in Tseng's direction.

"I should've made both plays -- there is no question about that," Tseng told reporters after the game.

An untimely, but mandatory one-day military service duty might have caused some unnecessary stress on the Bulls' center fielder, who could not return in time for the start of the game.

"I didn't have much rest at all last night because of it [military service duty]."

Elephants starter Jonathan Hurst of the US dodged a few bullets in a five-hit outing thanks to two key double plays turned in by his infield teammates in the second and fourth innings, keeping a shutout intact through the seventh. Hurst's luck would run out in the bottom of the eighth as three straight hits loaded the bases and a walk led to a run scoring. The 36-year-old veteran managed to escape the inning by yielding a second run.

"He [Elephants shortstop Chen Rei-cheng (陳瑞振)] is the man," Hurst said. "He's been there for me all season long."

Chen initiated both double plays that saved Hurst at least a couple runs earlier in the game, and then snagged a sharply hit grounder in the bottom of the sixth that turned a possible run-scoring single into the third out of the inning.

The Elephants win upheld the "presidential curse" in which the home team has not won in any of the five CPBL contests attended by President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) this year.

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