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 2011 Taiwan All-Star Series

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PostSubject: 2011 Taiwan All-Star Series   Thu Nov 03, 2011 4:43 pm

Granderson's slam sparks MLB in Taiwan
American stars break through in third inning of rain-shortened win
By Doug Miller / MLB.com | 11/01/11 11:00 PM ET

BOX>

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- It didn't take long for Curtis Granderson to put the "grand" in his last name.

In a slamming 2011 Taiwan All-Star Series debut, the Yankees center fielder hit a ball out of Xinzhuang Stadium for a grand slam that paced the Major Leaguers to a 7-0 rain-shortened victory over Chinese Taipei in Tuesday night's opener before a packed house.

Games 2 and 3, played at Intercontinental Stadium in Taichung, will air on MLB.com and MLB Network on Thursday and Friday at 9 p.m.; and Games 4 and 5, played at Chengcing Lake Stadium in Kaohsiung, will air at 5 p.m. on Saturday and at 9 p.m. on Sunday.

The game started a bit late because of day-long drizzle that turned into showers by nightfall, and the downpour finally halted play for good after the MLB team batted in the top of the sixth inning.

None of it bothered the baseball-crazy fans of Taiwan, who crammed the ballpark and expressed their enthusiasm for both teams all night long.

"They were so into it and excited about the game -- enthusiastic -- and it didn't stop," MLB and San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "That's a tough night, the way it was raining, but they stayed out there. I was impressed. ... We appreciate their passion for the game, and it's neat to see here in Taiwan."

The month-long layoff since the end of MLB's regular season and the lack of batting practice because of the rain might have showed for the big leaguers in the first two innings. That was not the case in the third.

Chinese Taipei left-handed starter Yao-Hsun Yang, who had been doing well with a fastball in the 89- to 91-mph range and well-placed secondary pitches, lost a bit of command and paid for it.

Marlins outfielder Logan Morrison led off with a bloop single to center field, and Emilio Bonifacio of the Marlins and Angels shortstop Erick Aybar drew one-out walks to load the bases.

That set the stage for Granderson, who waited on a slider and drove it up, over the wall and clear out of the stadium in right field to give the big leaguers a 4-0 lead they wouldn't relinquish.

"Once he got to two strikes, he threw another slider, but it happened to be over the middle of the plate," Granderson said. "I finally got one I could handle and I put a good swing on it."

Bochy spoke with admiration of Granderson, who hit 41 homers in 2011 to lead the Yankees.

"He's had an incredible year, and I'm a fan, too," Bochy said. "I'm glad to have the chance to watch him play and to come here."

Yang, meanwhile, sounded like a Major League veteran in a postgame interview when asked about the Granderson at-bat.

"[Issuing walks] has been part of my problem," Yang said through an interpreter. "I feel like I executed the pitch, but it was just up, and he got me."

Granderson later added a single and scored on a Mike Morse RBI double in the fifth. Bonifacio accounted for MLB's other runs with a two-RBI single in the fourth.

The MLB team alternated between rustiness and brilliance on defense.

The boisterous, chanting crowd reached a frenzy in the bottom of the second, when an error by Robinson Cano while trying to turn a double play led to a sharp single by Chinese Taipei third baseman Wei-Chih Chen that loaded the bases.

Second baseman Pin-Chien Chen got the fans even more pumped up by working a 3-1 count against MLB starter Jeremy Guthrie, but his ground ball to Cano was handled perfectly. The Yankees' second baseman flipped to Aybar, who turned the inning-ending double play.

And in the bottom of the third, after Che-Hsuan Lin hit a leadoff double and moved to third on a Kuo-Hui Lo fielder's choice, third baseman Ryan Roberts charged Chun-Hsiu Chen's swinging bunt and threw on the run to barely record the third out in a highlight-reel play.

Guthrie pitched three scoreless innings, giving up four hits and striking out two, and he was relieved by Trevor Bell of the Angels and Phil Coke of the Tigers, who threw one shutout inning apiece.

"They were very good hitters who were able to get baserunners," Guthrie said of the Taiwan team. "They just weren't able to get any runs across because our pitchers made good pitches when they needed to."

All in all, though, Guthrie's final take on the game was shared by his teammates and manager: Taiwan is a great place to play, and the Chinese Taipei team appears to have a promising future.

"It was nice to get on the field and play against the team here from Taiwan," Guthrie said. "The biggest thing is we feel grateful to Taiwan and the city of Taipei for welcoming us here."

Added Bochy: "I thought they battled and really competed well. They have a lot of young players, but they had us on the ropes. You tip your cap. They were playing hard."

Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com.Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB and read his MLBlog, Youneverknow. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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PostSubject: Re: 2011 Taiwan All-Star Series   Thu Nov 03, 2011 6:21 pm

MLB All-Stars earn hard-fought win in Taiwan
Major Leaguers go ahead late to take Game 2 vs. Chinese Taipei
By Doug Miller / MLB.com | 11/03/11 11:00 AM ET

TAICHUNG, Taiwan -- The quality of baseball in Taiwan is getting better quickly, and the stars of the Major Leagues got a good taste of that improvement Thursday night.

As expected, the MLB All-Stars won Game 2 of the 2011 Taiwan All-Star Series in Taichung Intercontinental Stadium, but it didn't come easy. They eked out a 5-3 victory over the Chinese Taipei national team in a game that was in question for most of the contest, and also was tinged with worry and concern because of a serious injury to a Chinese Taipei player.

After taking an early 2-0 lead, MLB gave up three unanswered runs to face its first deficit of the five-game exhibition series, but tied it in the sixth on a Ronny Paulino RBI single. The All-Stars went ahead for good in the seventh when Red Sox outfielder Josh Reddick led off with a double and scored on a wild pitch, and Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano doubled in an insurance run to end the scoring.

"There were a lot of flip-flips on the score, but luckily we got good pitching throughout the nine innings and our bats didn't stop," Reddick said. "Luckily, we scored a few more runs than they did. That's the way the game goes."

The MLB All-Stars have now won Games 1 and 2 of the exhibition series against the Chinese Taipei national team, and they will play their next game at Intercontinental Stadium in Taichung on Friday. Game 3 will air on Friday at 9 p.m. ET on MLB.TV and MLB Network. Games 4 and 5, played at Chengcing Lake Stadium in Kaohsiung, will air on MLB.TV and MLB Network at 5 p.m. ET on Saturday and at 9 p.m. ET on Sunday.

On Thursday, things started out well for MLB. Angels shortstop Erick Aybar, fresh off his Gold Glove Award announcement, led off the game with a double against Chinese Taipei starter Yao-Lin Wang, advanced on an error and scored on Yankees center fielder Curtis Granderson fielder's choice.

And in the third inning, Reddick led off with a double and scored to make it 2-0 when Chinese Taipei first baseman Chih-Pei Huan mishandled the throw from shortstop Po-Ting Hsiao on a double-play attempt.

But for the next inning, it was all Taiwan.

MLB starter Ross Detwiler, a hard-throwing Washington Nationals left-hander, gave up back-to-back doubles in the fourth, and Huan drove in Chinese Taipei's first run.

Two more scored in the next inning against MLB reliever LaTroy Hawkins, with second baseman Han Lin driving in one with a single and designated hitter Chun-Hsiu Chen knocking another in with a base hit to give Chinese Taipei an unexpected 3-2 lead that had the capacity crowd rocking.

"The Taipei hitters have such good discipline -- they don't chase pitches out of the zone," Detwiler said. "And I was a bit wild, and they were able to capitalize on that."

Unfortunately for Chinese Taipei, center fielder Kuo Hui Lo, a Seattle Mariners Minor Leaguer, suffered a dislocated right ankle and leg fracture on a slide while being thrown out at home by Reddick to end the inning. Lo was removed from the field on a stretcher and taken to a hospital to undergo surgery.

"We're still concerned about the accident at home plate," MLB manager Bruce Bochy said in a postgame news conference. "That was really a tragedy in a good ballgame, so that takes away a little bit from a good ballgame."


The game had to go on, however, and MLB didn't wait too long to respond.

In the sixth, facing sidearmer Chen-Hun Lin, Cano led off with a single, advanced to third on a one-out single by Pablo Sandoval and scored on Paulino's blistering line-drive single that popped out of the glove of Chinese Taipei third baseman Chun-Chieh Wang.

That knotted the game at 3, allowing MLB to take over in the seventh, and relievers Rich Thompson, Ramon Ramirez and Bill Bray finished it off from there with four scoreless innings.

Chinese Taipei manager Wei-Chen Chen, while noticeably shaken by Lo's injury, said he felt the game was a step in the right direction for Taiwan baseball.

"I felt that the hitters were doing a lot better today, getting more hits against the Major League pitchers, although most of them were singles and we needed some extra-base hits," Chen said through an interpreter.

"We didn't have a big inning, and we also made too many errors. We have to get better in the field to compete at this level. Major League hitters hit the ball so hard, and our fielders aren't ready to react to it. It's something we need to work on."

But the events of the game were almost forgotten afterward, when both teams were more concerned with an injured member of the worldwide baseball brotherhood.

"Hopefully [Lo] will be all right," Reddick said. "It's sad to see the way that happened with a guy playing the game like it should be played -- 100 percent."

Doug Miller is a reporter for
MLB.com.Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB and read his MLBlog,
Youneverknow. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League
Baseball or its clubs.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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