Mon, Jul 24, 2006 - Page 20 News List

Teams play to rare tie in All-Star Game

ALL SQUARE Despite the best efforts of MVP Chen Lien-hong, the White and Red sides could not be separated, but the skills contests provided plenty of excitement

By Paul Huang  /  CONTRIBUTING REPORTER

Team Red outfielder Chen Guan-ren makes a stunning catch in the All-Star Game against Team White on Saturday.

PHOTO: LO PEI-DER, TAIPEI TIMES

A pair of ninth-inning runs by Team White (South) off Team Red (North) reliever Chu Jien-ming forced a 3-3 tie in this year's Chinese Professional Baseball League's All-Star Game at Sinjhuang on Saturday night, stretching Team Red's unbeaten streak to three.

Game-MVP Chen Lien-hong (President Lions) started the ninth with a leadoff double and scored the second run for his team on an RBI double by fellow Lions catcher Kao Chih-kang, before Tsai Jien-wei's (La new Bears) groundout to short scored the tying run for the South.

It was the second MVP selection for Chen in the annual mid-summer classic, as the 10-year veteran finished the night with a two-for-two effort from the plate.

"I just swung at whatever looked good to me, and I'm glad the result was favorable," Chen Lien-hong said after the game.

The game began with the North striking first in the bottom of the opening inning with singles by Chi Jung-lin (Chinatrust Whales), Hsieh "The Ugly" Jia-shien (Macoto Cobras) and Chen Guan-ren (Brother Elephants) off South starter Pan "Du Du" Wei-luen to go up 2-0.

Against the strong pitching of North starter Lin "Little Chick" En-yu (Cobras), Team South was unable to score, despite collecting two hits off the Macoto ace.

But with rookie right-hander Chang Hsien-chih (Cobras) replacing Lin at the top of the third, Team South immediately produced, thanks to an error by North shortstop Cheng Chang-ming (Whales) and a timely single from Sinon Bulls' home run threat Chang "Prince of the Forest" Tai-shan, cutting the North's lead to 2-1.

The score would remain 2-1 over the next four innings with neither team able to put up any runs until the bottom of the eighth, when the North added what seemed to be an insurance run on a run-scoring single by designated hitter Kao Jung-chiang (Whales) to go up 3-1, setting the stage for the South's ninth-inning rally.

The tie on Saturday night was only the second ever in an All-Star Game over the league's 17-year history, following a 2-2 draw in Game 2 of the All-Star Series (three-game set) in 1992.

Home Run Derby

Chinatrust slugger Huang Kwei-yu beat out La new's Lin Chih-sheng by a 7-4 margin in the final round to take home the Home Run Derby title on Friday night, along with a check for NT$30,000.

Coincidentally, the three men that he beat in his quest for the title were all from the La new Bears -- Chen Chin-fong (with a league-best mark of 14 homers), Pan Chung-wei (six homers) and finally Lin (eight homers) -- all of whom had belted more homers than Huang's five during the regular season.

Base-running Contest

Helped by an early drop of the baton by Brother Elephants' Yeh Yong-jeh in the second leg of the base-running relay, Team White breezed through the annual speedsters' fest to win it for the third year in a row.

Pitching Contest

Chang "Red Monkey" Jia-hao (Bulls) and Lin Chih-sheng each nailed six of the nine squares on the target board to win the pitching contest that preceded the All-Star Game.

The new event tested the pitcher's accuracy by requiring them to hit nominated squares on a target board located over home plate. The contest proved tremendously popular, as pitchers wowed the crowd with their control of the ball.

American League

Normally reliable shortstop Alex Gonzalez's sixth-inning throwing error allowed Eduardo Perez to score the tiebreaking run, spoiling Kason Gabbard's Major League Baseball debut and helping the Seattle Mariners beat the Boston Red Sox 5-2 on Saturday.

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