Tue, Sep 27, 2005 - Page 18 News List

Whales progress swimmingly

TAIWAN PRO BASEBALL The Chinatrust Whales went unbeaten last week as they managed to crank up some run production and pitching held back the opposition

BY PAUL HUANG  /  CONTRIBUTING REPORTER

Whales closer Dario Veras earns his Chinese Professional Baseball League-leading 20th save of the season after pitching a scoreless ninth inning in the Whales' 8-6 victory over the Bears in Kaohsiung on Saturday. The Whales are last in the standings.

PHOTO: CHINATRUST WHALES

Eighteen total runs over a three-game span propelled the streaky Chinatrust Whales to an undefeated week play against the La News Bears in Taiwan's Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) last week.

The Whales got off to a great start in Game 1 of Saturday's day/night doubleheader at Kaohsiung by beating the home Bears 8-6, thanks to an offense that rang up 15 hits off a tired Bears staff.

After the marine creatures fell behind 4-1 on the strength of Bears slugger Lin Chih-sheng's three-run home run in the bottom of the fifth, the offense erupted for five runs in the sixth to give the Whales a 6-4 lead that they would not relinquish.

Ten Whales hitters made it to the plate in the inning, highlighted by pinch hitter Wang Hsin-min's two-run single to deep-left off game-loser Nerio Rodriguez.

Closer Dario Veras picked up his league-leading 20th save of the season with a scoreless ninth, preserving the win for rookie lefty Shen Yu-jeh, who pitched 3-1/3 innings of two-hit ball in relief of starter Scott Sobkowiak to improve to a 7-6 mark.

As for the Bears, the generous pitching staff simply could not take advantage of a three-homer night by the offense, sending them to a disheartening loss.

Whales 3, Bears 3

Cheng Chang-ming found redemption by driving in the game-tying run in the top of the eighth in Saturday's nightcap to keep the Whales off the loss column in a 3-all draw.

It was Cheng's fielding error that led to an unearned run by the Bears in the bottom of the second.

And the normally sure-handed shortstop for the Whales decided to let his bat do the talking by smashing an offering from Bears reliever Hsu Wen-hsiung to deep-left for a game-tying RBI double.

Neither club managed to score again as the game went into extra-innings before the game reached the league's the 3-1/2 hour time limit to end in a tie.

Whales 7, Bears 4

The Whales chased La New starter Chris Wright in a hurry during the fatal second inning in Sunday's series finale by crossing the plate six times in what would transpire into a 7-4 victory.

Starter Kao Jien-san turned in his best performance of the season by limiting a potent Bears lineup to a lone run on four hits over six innings en route to a game-MVP night.

After the Whales made it 7-1 with leftfielder Tsai Kuen-shiang's high-bouncing single to shallow-left that scored the runner from third in the seventh, the Bears attempted a rally by pouring in three runs in the eighth off Whales reliever Du Chang-wei to cut the lead to 7-4.

The Bears made things quite interesting in the bottom of the ninth against Whales reliever Chu Wei-ming by stringing together back-to-back hits to put runners on second and third with one out. But with the tying run at the plate, Chu was able to hold the runners by getting the next batter to groundout to short before punching out the final Bears batter on a game-ending strikeout.

Other CPBL Games

The Elephants won a crucial three-game series against the Sinon Bulls by takings two of three last week in a rematch of the 2003 Championship Series.

Relief pitching was the difference in the first two contests of the series as the Elephants stole the opener in Hsinchuang on Thursday with two ninth-inning runs to finish off the Bulls in a 3-2, come-from-behind win, before the Bulls returned the favor by winning Game 2 on Friday in a 6-5 decision.

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