Fri, Jul 14, 2006 - Page 24 News List

Prodigal son Chen's triple propels Bears past Whales

By Paul Huang  /  CONTRIBUTING REPORTER

Cheng Chang-ming, left, of the Chinatrust Whales jumps to avoid a collision with Lu Chun-hsiung of the La New Bears in Kaohsiung on Wednesday. The Whales won 4-1.

PHOTO: HUANG CHIH-YUAN, TAIPEI TIMES

Chen Chin-fong became the 13th man in league history to hit home runs in three consecutive at-bats during a game when he went deep three times against the Chinatrust Whales to lead the La New Bears in a 4-1 victory at Kaohsiung on Wednesday night.

The former major leaguer, who decided to return to his homeland to finish out his career after a seven-year stint in the US, smashed three solo blasts in the second, fourth, and sixth inning to help his team win its third straight, while upping its league-best record to 6-1 in the second half of the season.

The contest began with Chen getting the home Bears on the board for a quick 1-0 lead with his first homer of the night on a splitter from Whales starter Kao Jien-san in the bottom of the second.

After Chen doubled the Bears lead in the fourth with his second dinger of the game, again on a splitter from Kao, he would make it three in a row by taking Whales reliever Du Chang-wei deep in the sixth, this time on a slider that Du thought would never leave the park.

With the hosts leading 4-0 after eight shutout innings, the Whales finally broke through for their lone run of the game in the top of the ninth when Brian Becker drove in the runner from second with an RBI single off La New closer Ramon Morel, avoiding what would have been their third shutout of the season.

La New starter Tsai Ying-fong improved to 7-4 for the year pitching seven effective innings of four-hit ball for the win, despite not having his usual velocity on the fastball.

Taking the tough loss was his counterpart Kao, who allowed three runs on four hits over five innings of work.

Other than the two homers that he served up to Chen, the Whales righty was rock solid in a game that he pitched well enough to win had his offense given him any kind of run support.

Elephants 4, Bulls 3

Chen Guan-ren's clutch single off with a man on second scored the go-ahead run for the Brother Elephants as they edged past the Sinon Bulls by a 4-3 margin in Doliou on Wednesday night to even their second-half record at 4-4.

Winning back-to-back games for the first time since late May, the Elephants pounded Sinon starter Clint Weibl of the US for three quick runs on seven hits through the first three innings in a fast start.

But after chasing Weibl during the third, the men in the golden uniform suddenly hit a brick wall with the Bulls' Lee Guo-ching and Yu Wen-pin combining for 2-2/3 innings of scoreless relief before closer Kuo Yong-chich allowed Chen's game-winner in the bottom of the seventh for his first loss of the year.

Elephants starter Joey Dawley snapped a three-game losing streak with the shaky win to even his season mark at 5-5, allowing three runs on a whopping 13 hits in 7-2/3 innings.

Fellow right-hander Todd Erdos entered the game in the eighth and pitched his way out of a couple jams for his third save in as many opportunities.

Offensively for the Elephants, the heart of the order that is consisted of Chen Rei-cheng, Chen Guan-ren, and Chen Chi-yuan, batted a combined 7-for-11, with two of the four RBIs in the game to account for the bulk of the run production.

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