Mowing through the opposing pitching staff as if it were batting practice, Taiwan easily handled the Philippines in a 14-0 shutout in preliminary-round action of the 2006 XVI Intercontinental Cup at Taichung on Wednesday night.
The rain-shortened victory (the game was called off after the sixth inning after a mutual agreement between the two coaches due to heavy rain) brought the hosts back to an even 3-3 record, with an uphill battle against the undefeated defending champs from Cuba remaining in the seven-game preliminary round, making it extremely difficult for Taiwan to finish with a winning record.
The only way that Taiwan can qualify the four-team medal round would be if the Netherlands beats Australia and South Korea finishes off Italy in their respective final preliminary games.
Wednesday night's contest saw the Taiwanese bats smash four quick runs in the opening inning, highlighted by third baseman Chang "Prince of the Forest" Tai-shan's (Sinon Bulls) two-run homer off Filipino starter Charlie Labrador.
Taiwan would pad its lead by three in the following inning with back-to-back doubles by catcher Yeh Jung-chang (Sinon Bulls) and shortstop Yang Chung-sho and a two-run, inside-the-park home run by outfielder Chang Jien-ming (Sinon Bulls) for a commanding 7-0 advantage.
After a quiet third, Taiwan would score another run in the fourth on second baseman Chen Yong-ji's second base hit of the game before erupting for five runs in the fifth on the strength of six consecutive hits off Filipino reliever Roy Baclay to make it 13-0.
Tsang Chih-yao's third hit of the game, a double off the Philippines' Ernesto Binarao, knocked in the 14th run for Taiwan in the sixth to conclude the scoring, putting an end to the slugfest that had Taiwan racking up 18 hits with seven players enjoying a multi-hit night.
Earning the complete-game victory for Taiwan was starter Lin Keh-chien who scattered three singles over six innings while fanning four and walking none in an impressive outing. The right-hander gave an overworked Taiwanese bullpen a much-needed rest as only one of the starters over the five previous contests had gone past the sixth inning, putting an extra burden on the relievers.