Tue, Aug 03, 2004 - Page 20 News List

Top teams in league end up splitting weekend series

By Paul Huang  /  CONTRIBUTING REPORTER , TAIPEI

Close series play dominated last week's Chinese Professional Baseball League action as the President Lions and the Brother Elephants earned series splits against the Macoto Cobras and the Chinatrust Whales, respectively.

Regular season play will be suspended in the CPBL until Aug. 31, as 12 of the league's stars depart for Italy to join the national team in a series of exhibition games against Cuba, Canada, the Netherlands, and Italy in preparation for the upcoming Athens Olympics.

Lions 5, Cobras 4

Following their 1-1 split in the first two contests of the four-game series, the Lions took on a resilient Cobras squad in Taichung Friday night, where the serpents overcame two-run deficits twice before falling to the big cats in the bottom of the ninth in a dramatic 5-4 loss.

The game started with the Lions taking a 2-0 lead in the third inning on right fielder Wang Chuang-jia's (王傳家) two-run single up the middle.

The Cobras answered in the fourth with two runs of their own on designated hitter Cheng Jing-yi's (鄭景益) sacrifice fly to deep center and second baseman Deng Shih-yang's (鄧蒔陽) liner to shallow center.

The feline attack would strike again in the bottom of the fifth on first baseman Kao Guo-ching's (高國慶) two-run double, before the Cobras fought back with Chiou Chang-rong's (丘昌榮) solo blast to deep left in the sixth and leadoff man Wu Cheng-han's (吳承翰) infield single that lead to a 4-4 tie in the seventh.

The Cobras' luck ran out in the bottom of the ninth when third baseman Lin Yi-shiang's (林義翔) fielding error allowed the runner on second to score the game-winning run, giving Lions closer Michael Garcia the win.

Cobras reliever Kleber Ojima (7-5) took the loss.

Cobras 3, Lions 0

Down 1-2 in the series, Cobras skipper Kuo Tai-yuan (郭泰源) went with his ace lefty Lin Ying-jeh (林英傑) on Sunday's series finale, who ended up turning in his second complete game shutout of the week.

The southpaw, who will also represent the national team in the Athens Olympics, blanked the Lions with a blazing fastball that was clocked in the high 140km region and a nasty slider that broke sharply and late.

June's Pitcher of the Month winner Jose Alberro lost for the second time in the week to Lin by allowing three runs on nine hits in six innings. The Dominican native was solid in the two games that could have easily qualified for wins if it had not been for Lin's two consecutive masterpieces.

Elephants 6, Whales 3

The Brother Elephants had to reach deep into their bag of tricks to salvage a 2-2 series split with the Whales last week.

After beating the Whales on Tuesday in a 3-2 thriller, the Elephants found themselves on the losing end of a 5-4 decision where the Whales scored three unanswered runs to turn a 4-2 deficit into a 5-4 victory.

Designated hitter Wang Cheng-hao's (王宸浩) RBI double tied the game at 4-4 before a two-base fielding error by Elephants right fielder on the same play allowed Wang to score the go-ahead run.

Whales newcomer Emiliano Giron of the Dominican Republic was solid in his first starting assignment as he allowed two runs on five hits in six frames for the win in Game 3. A four-run sixth, capped by Wang Cheng-hao's two-run double was the difference, as the Whales tripped up the Elephants in the 6-4 final.

Back in his starting role for the Elephants, veteran righty Jonathan Hurst extended his league-high mark for wins to 13 in Sunday's 6-3 triumph over the Whales with five innings of sound pitching. He yielded two runs on six hits, before reliever Wang Jin-li (王勁力) wrapped up the game for his 10th save of the year.

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