Fri, Apr 20, 2007 - Page 23 News List

Veteran lefty lifts Cobras past Bears

STAYING ON TOP The Cobras retained their vantage in the standings after slugger Wang Chuan-jia delivered the game-winning runs in their 5-3 triumph over the Bears

By Paul Huang  /  CONTRIBUTING REPORTER

Chinatrust Whales first baseman Kao Chun-chiang slides into second base safely under the tag of Sinon Bulls second-baseman Cheng Jau-hang during the seventh inning of Tuesday's game in Douliou.

PHOTO: CHAN CHAO-YANG, TAIPEI TIMES

Wang Chuan-jia's two-run double off La New Bears closer Ramon Morel in the bottom of the eighth broke a 3-3 tie as the Macoto Cobras scored five unanswered runs to top the Bears 5-3 in Chiayi on Wednesday night and split the two-game set against the Bears.

The veteran lefty slugger slapped a knee-high offering from Morel to the opposite field with runners on first and second to deliver the game-winning runs, helping the Cobras salvage a series split versus the defending champs while they remain atop the standings with a half-game lead over the second-placed Chinatrust Whales.

Chen Chin-fong's league-best eighth homer of the season, a solo blast off Cobras starter Lin Jing-min in the top of the second, gave the Bears a quick 1-0 lead, which was bolstered by Tsai Jien-wei's two-run single in the third, giving them a 3-0 advantage.

That turned out to be all the runs that the Bears offense could manage on the night against the Cobras pitching with Lin Jing-min getting good defensive help to emerge unharmed from a shaky fifth and sixth before relievers Lee Ming-jin and Travis Minix combined for three scoreless innings to silence the Bears bats.

Lee was credited with his second win of the season for his two innings of one-hit relief while Minix pocketed his fourth save with a perfect ninth to tie the Sinon Bulls' Kuo Yong and the Chinatrust Whales' Miguel Saladin for the league's lead in total saves.

Offensively for the serpents, the heart of the order had little trouble seeing the ball as Lin "Wild Hog" Hong-yuan, Hsieh "the Ugly" Jia-shien, and Ivanon Coffie of the Netherlands each collected two hits to account for six of their team's nine in the game.

Taking the loss for the Bears was Morel, who surrendered the game-deciding runs in the eighth in a non-save situation. He is now 0-2 for the season with no saves and holds to his credit.

Whales 6, Bulls 4

A five-run third by an opportunistic Chinatrust lineup proved to be the clincher as they racked up six early runs and held on to beat the Bulls 6-4 in Taichung on Wednesday evening to salvage a 1-1 series split against the Bulls.

The Whales capitalized on a wild third by fast-fatiguing Bulls starter Shibakusa Hiroshi and reliever Lee Guo-ching, by sending 10 men to the plate to grind out four singles, a double and pair of walks for the five runs in the inning. The 38-year-old Shibakusa had pitched no more than two-and-two-thirds innings from a reliever's role prior to Wednesday's game.

Cheng Da-hong reached on a hit batsman and took third after a poor throw by the Whales catcher on his attempted steal to second before scoring on Tseng Jing-fong's groundout to short to give the Bulls a 1-0 in the opening frame.

Chen Jia-hong's solo shot to left promptly tied the game up at 1-1 in the bottom of the first before the Bulls skidded ahead in the second on Cheng Jau-hang's two-run homer that put his team ahead 3-1.

After the Whales blew the game wide open with the five-run third, the game suddenly turned into a pitching match with Lee Guo-ching keeping the Whales hitters at bay the rest of the way and Whales bullpen standouts Chu Wei-ming, Shen Yu-jeh and Saladin combining for six shutout frames to preserve the win.

Chu improved to 2-0 for the year with two-and-one-third innings of shutout relief on a pair of singles for the win, beating Shibakusa, who fell to an even 2-2 after starting off the season with a pair of wins.

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