Fri, Jun 23, 2006 - Page 21 News List

Bears breathing down Lions' necks

BASEBALL The La New Bears are a half-game behind the President Lions, who held on to their vantage atop the table after taking care of the Elephants and the Whales

By Paul Huang  /  CONTRIBUTING REPORTER

The Chicago Cubs' Aramis Ramirez jerks away from an inside pitch from the Cleveland Indians' C.C. Sabathia in the third inning of an interleague baseball game on Wednesday in Cleveland, Ohio.

PHOTO: AP

CPBLThe top two teams in the league maintained their momentum this week, with the President Lions picking up two more convincing victories to remain atop the standings and the La New Bears beating the Macoto Cobras to trail the Lions by only a half-game in a two-team race for the first-half title.

Tuesday's contest in Sinjhuang between the Brother Elephants and the Lions had the visiting cats jumping to a 3-0 lead in the opening frame on the strength of four walks issued by Elephants starter Liao Yu-cheng and a run-scoring double by cleanup man Chen Jia-wei to set the tone for the Lions in the eventual 5-0 shutout win.

The Lions would make 4-0 in the second when outfielder Liu Fu-hao led off the inning with a standup double and scored on a single by third baseman Shih Jin-dien to chase Liao in a hurry.

In came Brother reliever Liu Jung-nan, who promptly shut down the President attack for the next 6-2/3 innings before his bullpen mate Chuang Wei-chuan surrendered the fifth and final Lions run in the ninth to conclude all the scoring.

Keeping the Elephants completely off the board was Lions starter Eric Cyr of Canada, who recorded his second shutout win of the season on a four-hit gem to improve to a team-high mark of 8-2.

Lions 11, Whales 2

Liu Fu-hao's solo homer off Whales ace Tseng Jau-hao broke a scoreless tie in the top of the sixth before the Lions piled on seven runs in the seventh to pull away in an 11-2 rout at Sinjhuang on Wednesday night, extending their record-setting winning streak to 16 and counting.

Veteran right-hander Tsao Jung-yang turned in 5-2/3 innings of shutout ball on three hits in a rare start for the Lions before the bullpen took over to preserve his second win of the year.

Offensively for the Lions, Liu's 3-for-5 night with a pair of RBIs sparked a 19-hit effort that ran the Whales out of the water. He was a double shy of hitting for the cycle with a single, a homer and a rare triple for the game.

Pocketing the loss for the marine creatures was Tseng in only his third defeat of the year with six innings of four-run ball on 11 hits (including two homers) as he dropped to 6-3 for the season.

Bears 2, Cobras 1

Pan Chung-wei's ninth-inning home run off game-loser Chang Hsien-chih of the Cobras gave the La New Bears a thrilling 2-1 win in Kaohsiung on Tuesday to keep pace with the league-leading Lions.

The hard-hitting first baseman out of the Taipei Physical Education College also knocked in the Bears' other run of the game with a clutch single off Chang in the bottom of the second to account for all of his team's scoring for the night.

After falling behind by a run to the Bears in the second, the Cobras were able to answer with the equalizer in the fifth on outfielder Huang Gao-jung's lining single to right that drove in catcher Wu Jau-hui, who began the inning with a double off La New starter Wu Si-yo. That would be all the offense the Cobras lineup could muster against Wu, with the Bears' lefty ace throwing in top form for his league-best ninth victory in a complete-game effort to remain a perfect 9-0 for the year.

Failure to deliver the clutch hit with men in scoring position was to blame as the serpents went 2-for-9 with men in scoring position to produce only one run on the eight hits they managed to collect off Wu in the game.

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