Fri, Mar 30, 2007 - Page 23 News List

Lions fizzle after dismal start to season

STRUGGLING The Lions are having their worst start to the season in more than 10 years, and Wednesday's 4-0 loss to the Elephants did nothing to change that

By Paul Huang  /  CONTRIBUTING REPORTER

Brother Elephants third baseman Chen Chiang-ho, right, forces out Uni Lions catcher Kao Chung-hua in a double play in Sinjhuang on Wednesday.

PHOTO: LIN CHUNG-KUN, TAIPEI TIMES

Troubles continued for the President Lions this week as they opened the series against the Brother Elephants with a 4-0 setback at Sinjhuang on Wednesday evening for their fifth straight loss.

Off to their worst start in more than a decade, the Lions have lost five straight since splitting their two-game set against the La New Bears on the opening weekend in Kaohsiung for a dismal 1-6 record, with three of the six losses decided by two runs or fewer.

Starting righty Tsao Jung-yang was hit hard in the opening inning on Wednesday when back-to-back singles by the Elephants' Chen Guan-ren and Peng "Chia Chia" Cheng-min scored Huang Cheng-wei, who led off the game with an infield single for a 1-0 Elephants lead.

The Elephants would have scored at least another run in the inning had it not been for a critical base-running error by Chen that led to the Elephants' second out of the inning.

Chen Rei-chang's RBI groundout one out after his brother Rei-cheng's rare triple to deep-left to start off the second inning quickly made it 2-0 in favor of the Elephants.

Neither club would score another run over the next six innings against the stellar pitching of the Brother starter Joey Dawley and a regrouped Tsao who kept an Elephants lineup in check the rest of the way until being relieved at the end of the eighth.

The Elephants would eventually add two more insurance runs in the top of the eighth with outfielder Lin Ming-shien's solo homer off Lions reliever Yen Chuen-hao and Chen Rei-cheng's sacrifice-fly to deep-left that scored Chen Guan-ren.

Game-MVP Dawley was credited with his first win of the season for six shutout innings of work, striking out an impressive nine while walking four.

Taking the loss for the Lions was Tsao, who pitched eight solid innings, but fell victim to no run support whatsoever.

Bulls 9, Bears 3

Tseng Hua-wei's four-hit night with a pair of RBIs paved the way to victory for the Sinon Bulls on Wednesday as they downed the La New Bears in a 9-3 decision at Taichung to start the week with a bang. The speedy outfielder tied a career high for most hits in a single game by going 4-for-5 on the night against three different Bears hurlers, showing off his big bats in an unprecedented fashion.

"I saw the ball very well and was able to get good wood on it tonight," Tseng said after the game.

The former member of the Sinon practice squad is leading the league in hitting with an incredible .611 batting average with five RBIs in as many games.

The contest began with the home Bulls drawing first blood against the Bears on player/manager Huang Chung-yi's opposite-field single that scored Tseng from second for a 1-0 Sinon lead in the bottom of the third, before the Bears answered with a two-run fourth to retake a 2-1 on Pan Chung-wei's run-scoring single and Huang Long-yi's sacrifice-fly off Bulls starter Iba Tomokazu.

Four singles and a double by the raging Bulls helped them reclaim a 4-2 lead in a three-run fourth as they knocked out Bears starter Tsai Ying-fong in a hurry.

The Bears managed to pull within a run of the Bulls at 4-3 in the top of the fifth when Shih Chih-wei slapped a triple down the first-base line and scored on Lu Jung-hsiung's groundout two batters later.

That was as close as the Bears got as the Bulls erupted for five runs in the bottom of the fifth, highlighted by Yu Hsien-ming's two-run double off Bears reliever Hsu Yu-wei to blow the game wide open.

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