Postseason experience came through in a big way for the Sinon Bulls in Game 1 of the Chinese Professional Baseball League's Taiwan Series as they defeated the President Lions 4-1 at the Kaohsiung County Stadium on Saturday night.
Seven-time championship series participants Chang "Prince of the Forest" Tai-shan (
The winner of Game 1 has won nine of past 11 league titles since the current postseason championship format was put in place.
Starter Yang Jien-fu (
American lefty Jeff Andra started the eighth inning and retired the next six batters for his first postseason save.
After ridding itself of the championship series jitters during the first two innings, the potent Bulls' offense would strike first in the top of the third inning on left fielder Chang Jien-ming's (
The Bulls added two more runs in the fourth on shortstop Cheng Jau-hang's (
In the bottom of the seventh inning the Lions finally put together a scoring drive, beginning with first baseman Kao Guo-ching (高國慶), who led off the inning with a double before advancing to third base on catcher Kao Cheng-hua's (高政華) grounder to second.
Second baseman Yang Tung-yi (
Hanging onto a slim 3-1 lead, the Bulls added an insurance run in the top of the ninth on pinch-hitter Chen Chung-fu's (
Lions centerfielder Huang Kang-lin's (黃甘霖) 0-for-2 hitting with men in scoring position really hurt his team's ability to produce runs in critical situations.
Huang hit into an inning-ending out in the fourth and struck out in the sixth, with runners in scoring position on each occasion.
The win was Yang Jien-fu's seventh straight in as many chances, making the second-year righty the most feared pitcher in the Bulls' lineup.
"He [Yang] was simply outstanding -- what more can I say?" Bulls manager Liu Rong-hua (
The Bulls catcher may have had a hand in the outcome after calling for unexpected pitches.
"I had him throw fastballs for the most part today, because I expected that they would be looking fro Yang's well-known slider," Bulls' catcher Yeh Jung-chang said. "Maybe that was what threw the Lions hitters off."