Thu, Oct 26, 2006 - Page 20 News List

Bears take 3-0 edge over Lions

NO MESS, NO FUSS The La New Bears quickly staked a 5-0 lead over the President Lions and didn't look back as they took their third win in the best-of-seven Fall Classic

By Paul Huang  /  CONTRIBUTING REPORTER

President Lions center-fielder Hsu Feng-pin safely slides into second base under the tag of La New Bears second-baseman Tsai Chih-tsung in the top of the eighth inning of the third game of the championship series on Tuesday. La New won 5-2.

PHOTO: CHEN TSE-MING, TAIPEI TIMES

No late-game rallies; no one-run dramas, just a plain old 5-2 win over the President Lions in Game 3 of the 2006 Taiwan Series for the La New Bears at Sinjhuang's Taipei County Baseball Stadium on Tuesday night.

With the win, the Bears moved to within a victory of their first ever Taiwan Series title as they led in the best-of-seven annual Fall Classic by a commanding 3-0 margin.

Unlike their two previous wins that needed a late-game rally to beat the Lions by a run on consecutive nights, the victorious Bears grabbed a 5-0 lead over the first two innings of play and never looked back as they toppled the Lions in convincing manner.

Game-MVP Lin Chih-sheng's two-run homer off Lions starter Hansen Izquierdo got the Bears on the board in the opening frame before they added three more runs in the second, courtesy of a two-run single by outfielder Tsai Jien-wei and a monstrous triple by Lin that gave the third-year slugger three RBIs for the night.

"I didn't want to mess with his [Isquierdo's] breaking stuff, so I was looking for a fastball all the way. And I am glad I got a couple of good swings tonight," Lin said after the game on his 2-for-4 hitting with three RBIs and seven total bases.

Spotted a 5-0 lead after the two innings, Bears rookie starter Tsai Ying-fong cruised through five solid innings, allowing a fourth-inning run on three hits for his first career postseason win, before being relieved by the La New bullpen.

He could have pitched for a couple more innings, were it not for Bears skipper Hung Yi-chung's strict pitch count for his emerging rookie hurler.

Reliever Hsu Wen-hsiung allowed back-to-back base hits to the Lions' Chen Lien-hong and Tilson Brito to put the runners on second and third with one out in the top of the sixth, but calmly worked out of the jam by retiring the next two batters to keep the score at 5-1.

After a scoreless seventh, the Lions would muster another golden scoring chance in the eighth by loading up the bases with no outs against the Bears on two walks issued by Hsu and a missed tag by second baseman Chiang Chih-tsong that called for ace closer Ramon Morel.

And the Dominican veteran righty promptly responded by giving up only one run on a sacrifice fly by Brito before striking out the next batter and getting Kao Chih-kang to pop out at second to end the Lions' most serious scoring threat of the night.

"Having the early lead really helped us tremendously because it took all the pressure off everyone on the team. Aside from a couple of bad breaks, I thought the Lions played very well," Hung said after the game.

Tsao Jung-yang threw six innings of shutout ball in relief of Izquierdo to keep his team in the game. But it was not nearly enough for the Lions as they fail to come up with the clutch hits against the Bears bullpen despite cranking out four hits and drawing a pair of walks in the process on a losing cause.

Facing elimination in a potential series sweep, the Lions were to return to Tainan in a do-or-die Game 4 last night, with staff ace Pan "Du Du" Wei-luen taking on Bears lefty Wu Si-yo in a rematch of Game-1.

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