Tue, Jun 29, 2004 - Page 20 News List

Chen's single helps Brother Elephants over Macoto Cobras

By Paul Huang  /  CONTRIBUTING REPORTER

Chen "the Golden Warrior" Chih-yuan's (陳致遠) game-winning single in the bottom of the ninth capped off an exciting three-game sweep of the Macoto Cobras for the Brother Elephants in Hualien last weekend. The defending champs sent off their retiring first baseman Wang Guang-hui (王光輝), whose No. 26 uniform will be retired, with three straight wins that put them at the top the league standings in a tie with the Sinon Bulls.

Thursday night's series opener had the Elephants leading 1-0 until their five-run sixth that blew the game wide open. The Elephants would make it 7-0 after seven, before the Cobras rallied for six runs of their own in the eighth highlighted by designated hitter Chiou Chang-rong's (丘昌榮) two-run bomb off Elephant closer Jonathan Hurst, to trail only by a run. The serpents would even things up at 7-all in the top of the ninth on catcher Francisco Morales's sacrifice fly that scored Hsieh Jia-shien (謝佳賢) who tripled on the previous play.

Down but not out, the Elephants would regain their poise in the bottom of the ninth and win it on first baseman Tsai Fong-an's (蔡仲南) sacrifice fly to deep center for the 8-7 triumph. The victory upped Hurst's record to 9-6, despite the fact that he blew the save by surrendering the Cobras' game-tying run.

Nakagomi Sin allowed five hits while fanning nine in seven scoreless innings before Hurst finished off the Cobras in the last two frames to preserve the 4-0 shutout for the Elephants in Game 2 on Saturday.

Retiring Elephant slugger Wang Guang-hui ended his playing career on a high note by driving in the game's first run on a blooper single just inside the right-foul line. Wang waived his cap to the fans in tears, thanking them for 15 years of loyal support. Also in attendance was Hualien county magistrate Hsieh Shen-shan (謝深山), who presented Wang with a pair of cheering rods signed by Taiwan president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) in honor of his outstanding career achievements.

Sunday's series finale was a near replay of the opener as Hurst failed to preserve a 3-2 lead in his new closer's role by allowing the Cobras to tie the game up on center fielder Huang Kao-jung's (黃高俊) two-out, opposite-field single in the top of the ninth. Thanks to Chen Chih-yuan's late-game heroics, the blown save by Hurst once again turned into another victory, the tenth for the American veteran this season.

Also finishing strong for the week were the Chinatrust Whales in their four-game stint against the La New Bears in Kaohsiung. Following a one-all split in the first two contests, the Whales blanked the home Bears in Game 3 by a 2-0 final on a spectacular effort by starter Danny Harriger. The former Major Leaguer allowed only one hit in eight solid innings before turning the game to closer Dario Veras, who retired the side in order for his seventh save of the season.

Cleanup man Chen Chien-wei's (陳健偉) ninth-inning grand slam off Bear closer Claudio Galva contributed to a five-run rally that made winners out of the Whales in Game 4 on Saturday as they overcame a 2-6 deficit to win it 7-6. It was Chen's fourth homer of the season and second career grand slam.

Back-to-back liners by Luo Song-yung (羅松永) and Kao Jien-long (高健龍) drove in two pairs of runs in the seventh to help the Bulls pull off a 4-2 come-from-behind win over the President Lions on Sunday. The victory gave the Bulls a 2-1 edge in their three-game series against the first-half champs.

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