Fri, Jul 30, 2004 - Page 24 News List

Chang Tai-shan rallies Bulls past Bears

By Paul Huang  /  CONTRIBUTING REPORTER

Chang Tai-shan of the Bulls does what he does best during a recent game in this file photo. Chang is the Chinese Professional Baseball League leader in runs batted in.

PHOTO: CPBL

Chang "the Prince of the Forest" Tai-shan's (張泰山) 4-for-5 night with a season-high five RBI in the 6-5 win over the La New Bears helped deliver the first victory in five contests for the Sinon Bulls in Pingtung on Wednesday.

Taiwan's Chinese Professional Baseball League leader in total RBI, Chang now holds a nine RBI lead over Hsieh Jia-shien (謝佳賢) of the Macoto Cobras and the Brother Elephants Chen "the Golden Warrior" Chih-yuan (陳致遠).

The youngest member of the CPBL's "Century Club" (100 or more career home runs) at age 27, Chang single-handedly defeated a Bears squad that had won two straight and was closing in on its third victory.

Chang's stellar performance made a winner out of Bulls starter Yang Jien-fu (陽建福), gift-wrapping the eighth win of the year for Yang, despite an average performance on the mound.

The Bears had just broken a 2-2 deadlock in the bottom of the seventh inning on outfielder Tseng Hern-chang's (曾恆彰) run-scoring single to right before the Bulls answered with Chang's two-run RBI in the top of the eighth.

Chang would knock in two more runs on a solid double that bounced off the center-field wall an inning later to make it 6-3 in the top of the ninth.

And the Bulls needed every one of those late-game runs as its bullpen nearly blew the game in the bottom of the ninth by surrendering two runs in a wild finish.

The win momentarily erased the agony associated with the Bulls' 6-2 loss on Tuesday when the Bears embarrassed them with a three-hit gem.

Other than issuing three costly walks that led to a pair of Bulls runs in the third, Bears starter Liang Rue-hao (梁如豪) was in full control for 5-2/3 innings before being relieved by the bullpen.

It was by far Liang's best outing from the mound as he recorded only the second win of the year.

Offensively for the Bears, first baseman Pan Chung-wei's (潘忠韋) seventh home run of the season, a two-run shot off Bulls starter Aquiles Sera, along with cleanup man Lin Chih-sheng's (林智盛) pair of doubles, provided most of the damage against the Bulls.

The Elephant's thrilling 3-2 win over the Chinatrust Whales on Tuesday, couple with the President Lions' 2-0 loss to the Cobras on Monday led to a two-way tie Between the Elephants and the Lions at the top of the standings.

neck and neck

at the top

It was the third time in the highly competitive second half that two teams have shared the lead.

Shortstop Chen Rei-cheng's fourth-inning RBI single opened the scoring for the Elephants before the defending champs padded their 1-0 lead with center fielder Chen Chih-yuan's two-run triple in the seventh.

The 3-0 Elephants lead appeared to be enough until trouble hit in the bottom of the ninth.

With two outs and runners at the corners, the Whales attack put up back-to-back singles that scored a pair of runs and had Elephants skipper Lin Yi-tseng (林易增) wondering if his decision to leave starter Nakagomi Sin in for the ninth was a wise one.

Fortunately for Lin, his Japanese ace pitched his way out of the jam by getting the last Whales batter to fly out, giving the defending champs a 3-2 win.

Monday's make-up contest between the serpents and the big cats featured a classic pitchers dual, where neither lineup was able to solve the opposing man on the mound.

Cobras second baseman Deng Shih-yang's (鄧蒔陽) solo shot to deep right in the bottom of the second was one of the few hits that Lions starter Jose Alberro allowed all night long.

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