Wed, Apr 11, 2012 - Page 20 News List

Yani Tseng throws ceremonial pitch in New York

Staff writer, with CNA and AP, NEW YORK

World No. 1 women’s golfer Yani Tseng of Taiwan throws the ceremonial first pitch in front of New York Mets starting pitcher Mike Pelfrey before the Mets took on the Washington Nationals in their National League game at CitiField in New York on Monday.

Photo: Reuters

NATIONAL LEAGUE

World No. 1 golfer Yani Tseng was thrilled to have had the chance to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at Citi Field before the New York Mets game against the Washington Nationals on Monday, but she was not terribly happy with the result.

“I was really excited to throw out the first ball. I just regret that after practicing for a while, the ball I threw was still off target,” said Tseng, who was invited to the game as part of Taiwan Heritage Night festivities.

Having played on many pressure-packed stages as the world’s top women’s golfer, Tseng said she gained a new appreciation for the challenge baseball pitchers face.

“I can sense now how nervous Wang Chien-ming must feel when he is on the mound and how good a pitcher he is,” she said.

Tseng made a rare trip to New York in between tournaments hoping to see New York Knicks sensation Jeremy Lin and the Washington Nationals’ Wang in action, but was disappointed because both athletes are sidelined with injuries. She wished both a speedy recovery, but said making a full recovery was really difficult and required daily therapy, icing and stretching, as well as the need to overcome mental barriers to be fully confident when returning to action.

Tseng said she was very proud of Wang and Lin because of their good performances, and she voiced her support for them, not as the world’s No. 1 golfer, but as a Taiwanese because “I’m just another sports fan.”

“As long as there are Taiwanese players, I’ll come to cheer them on,” Tseng said.

At Taiwan Heritage Night, Tseng was a popular draw herself, shaking hands with and signing autographs for hundreds of fans, many of whom were carrying the Taiwanese national flag and baseball caps. One fan even asked Tseng to sign a NT$100 bill.

On the field, Daniel Murphy singled home the winning run in the ninth as New York took advantage of a throwing error by reliever Henry Rodriguez to beat Washington 4-3.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis hit his first major league homer for the Mets, who are 4-0 for the first time since 2007. Jon Rauch (1-0) worked two hitless innings for his first win with New York.

Pinch-hitter Mike Baxter drew a leadoff walk from Rodriguez (0-1) in the ninth. Ruben Tejada put down a sacrifice bunt and Baxter advanced to third on a wild throw to first.

Baxter was initially waved home, but a late stop sign caused him to slip and scramble back to third. Murphy followed with his winning single.

Meanwhile, Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson said that Wang is recovering well, but that he would probably have to practice in the bullpen a few more times before returning to the mound.

Johnson said there was no timetable for his return, adding that the team was watching him closely.

CARDINALS 7, REDS 1

In Cincinnati, Ohio, Matt Holliday, David Freese and Yadier Molina homered during the Cardinals’ big first inning to help the defending World Series champions to a big win over the Cincinnati Reds.

St Louis improved to 4-1 with an offense that has not missed Albert Pujols so far.

Only 20 pitches into the game, Reds starter Homer Bailey (0-1) trailed 4-0. It was the second time this season that St Louis hit three homers in an inning. Molina also doubled home a pair of runs in the eighth.

Jake Westbrook (1-0) overcame an early bout of wildness, allowing only three hits and one unearned run in seven innings. The right-hander slimmed down in the offseason and had an impressive spring training, getting the sink back on his fastball.

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