Fri, Jul 23, 2004 - Page 24 News List

Lions and Elephants even after two

By Paul Huang  /  CONTRIBUTING REPORTER

A file photo of Elephants' starting pitcher Nakagomi Sin.

PHOTO: CPBL

Late-game drama dominated the first two contests between Taiwan's Chinese Professional Baseball League-leading President Lions and the second-place Brother Elephants as both clubs won one game apiece.

Tuesday's showdown in Kaohsiung drew over 10,000 fans as they witnessed the Elephants overcome a 1-0 deficit to win by a 3-1 final.

Veteran outfielder Wang Chuan-jia (王傳家) got the Lions on the board with an RBI single off Elephants' starter Nakagomi Sin following an error by Elephants' second baseman Fong Sheng-shien (馮勝賢) and a wild pitch that put the runner in scoring position.

Red-hot Lions pitcher Jose Alberro cruised through the first four frames in a one-hit shutout and pitched out of a no-out, runner-on-third jam in the fifth inning before being relieved in the sixth by set-up man Kao Long-wei (高龍偉).

The Lions' lead would hold until the bottom of the sixth when Elephants' first baseman Tsai Fong-an's (蔡豐安) two-out, run-scoring single tied the game at 1-1.

The Elephants would add to their lead in the seventh and eighth innings, making it 3-1 on reserve catcher Kuo Yi-fong's (郭一峰) blooper single and left fielder Chen Huai-shan's (陳懷山) standup double.

Even though both Lions leadoff men got on base to begin the eighth and ninth, Nakagomi was able to keep the big cats from crossing the plate, as he went the distance in earning his ninth win of the year.

The loss snapped the Lions' seven-game winning streak and put the Elephants in a two-way tie for the lead in the standings.

Wednesday's rematch had the Lions jumping to a 2-0 lead after six innings on shortstop Yang Seng's (陽森) sacrifice fly in the third and solo blast in the sixth off Elephants starter Yokota Hisanori.

The Elephants then came back to take a 3-2 lead in the seventh, capped by a rare double by Chen "the Golden Warrior" Chih-yuan (陳致遠) off Lions closer Michael Garcia that scored the runner from second.

The resilient Lions showed why they were the first-half champs by rallying for two runs in the eighth on pinch-hitter Tseng Yang-chih's (曾揚志) two-run single up the middle.

That was as good as a win for the Lions because closer Garcia, who entered the game in the seventh inning in relief of starter Donald Lemon, held off the Elephants with three scoreless innings.

Garcia extended his scoreless streak to 41-2/3 innings as opposing batters continue to struggle against his dominating velocity and pin-point accuracy.

Yang Seng was the unanimous choice for the game-MVP honor as the former standout with the Macoto Gida of the Taiwan Major League went 2-for-3 with two RBI. It was the first time Yang received the honor this season.

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