Mon, Jul 19, 2004 - Page 19 News List

Sold out All-Star Game features rare grand slam


For the second year in a row, the winner of the Home Run Derby also took home the game-MVP award in Taiwan's annual Chinese Professional Baseball League All-Star Game.

Peng "Chia Chia" Cheng-ming (彭政閔) of the Brother Elephants edged out defending home-run champion Chen Lien-hung (陳連宏) of the President Lions by a 3-to-1 margin before he turned in a 2-for-4 night with a two-run, opposite-field blast and three RBI.

A sold-out stadium in Hsinchuang of some 10,500 fans cheered on their favorite players during the mid-summer classic as Team Red (consisting of players from the Elephants, the Chinatrust Whales, and the La New Bears) and Team White (representing the Lions, the Sinon Bulls, and the Macoto Cobras) took the field in a hard-fought 9-7 battle in favor of crimson squad.

Following the ceremonial first pitch by Secretary General of the Presidential Office Su Chen-chang (蘇貞昌), Team White drew first blood in the bottom of the first inning when cleanup man Chang "the Prince of the Forest" Tai-shan's (張泰山) belted a run-scoring single off Team Red starter Jonathan Hurst.

Team White would make it 2-0 in the third on Cobras first baseman Hsieh Jia-shien's (謝佳賢) standup double that scored Bulls outfielder Chang Jia-hao (張家浩), who led off the inning with a sharp single to right.

In the bottom of the fourth, Peng scored on an RBI single off Team White reliever Lee Ming-jing (李明進) before Bears designated hitter Tsai Hung-tseh (蔡泓澤) knotted the game up at 2-2 with a line-drive hit that he tried to stretch into a double -- although he was gunned down by a perfect relay throw to second base.

Troubles continued for Lee Ming-jing into the fifth frame as Team Red poured in six straight runs, highlighted by Peng's towering shot over the right-center wall, which was good for two more RBI. The crimson attack batted around the order to take a commanding 8-2 lead.

With another run scored by Team Red in the top of the seventh to make it 9-2, Team White put on its rally caps and exploded for five runs in the bottom of the seventh, thanks to designated hitter Chiou Chang-rong's (丘昌榮) grand slam off Whales reliever Hsieh Cheng-hsun (謝承勳).

Chiou's grand slam was only the second in the All-Star Game's 15-year history since career home-run leader Lin Chung-chiou (林仲秋) of the Bulls dazzled a sold-out Taipei City Stadium in 2000.

"It's one of those things you can only dream about, because so many things that have to go right for someone to have a chance at it [hitting a grand slam]," Chiou said after the game. "I'm glad that the ball rolled my way tonight."

Whales rookie sensation Wang Guo-ing pitched scoreless eighth and ninth innings, only allowing a shot by Lions third baseman Wu Jia-rong (吳佳榮) that ricocheted off the first baseman's glove for an infield single, to preserve the win for Bears reliever Lee Fong-hua (李風華).

His counterpart, Lee Ming-jing suffered the loss in surrendering a record-high eight runs in his second All-Star Game appearance.

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