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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Nationals' Willingham belts two grand slams

Associated Press

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Washington's Josh Willingham, right, is congratulated by Ryan Zimmerman in the fifth inning after the first of his two grand slams against Milwaukee. Willingham's eight RBIs tied the franchise record.

MORRY GASH | Associated Press

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MILWAUKEE Josh Willingham put the ball from his second grand slam, inscribed with all the details, into an acrylic cube. His bat was staying in circulation for now, even if the Hall of Fame asked for the lumber.

"No, no way," he said. "Well, when I break it, I'll give it to them."

Willingham hit two grand slams and tied a franchise record with eight RBIs, powering the Washington Nationals to a 14-6 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers last night.

"That's the beautiful thing about baseball," he said. "You come into the game before the game and you never know what could happen."

Willingham, an outfielder, became the 13th player to hit two grand slams in a game and first since Boston's Bill Mueller hit one from each side of the plate July 29, 2003, against Texas. Willingham's eight RBIs were the most in Nationals history and tied the franchise mark, accomplished last by Tim Wallach for Montreal against San Diego in 1990.

Willingham hit his 15th homer off Jeff Suppan (5-8) with two out in the fifth, capping a six-run inning with a 400-foot drive to left-center. He connected again in the sixth, finishing a seven-run rally with a one-out shot to center off Mark DiFelice.

"Everything's got to be lined up right for you. You've got to be seeing the ball good, hitting the ball good and your teammates have to have been on base for you all night twice," Washington interim manager Jim Riggleman said.

Willingham, who also doubled in the second, finished 3 for 5 and Ryan Zimmerman hit a solo homer in the eighth for the Nationals, who have won three straight to raise their record to 31-68.

Corey Hart hit his second homer in as many days and Ryan Braun added a two-run shot, but the Brewers (49-50) fell below .500 for the first time since April 27. They are 7-15 since entering July with a two-game lead in the NL Central.

"The fans are getting a little restless and I don't blame them," Brewers manager Ken Macha said. "We can't continue to have to get four innings from the bullpen every night."


Tim Lincecum pitched a four-hitter with a career-high 15 strikeouts as host San Francisco beat Pittsburgh. Lincecum (11-3), the reigning NL Cy Young winner, has struck out 10 or more six times this season. He had two strikeouts in each of the first five innings before giving up a pair of unearned runs in the sixth following a throwing error by shortstop Edgar Renteria.


Alfonso Soriano redeemed himself for an earlier mental miscue by hitting a game-ending grand slam in the 13th inning to lead host Chicago past Houston. In the 11th, Soriano hit a slow bouncer to third with one out and a runner on first. He didn't run, even though the ball was fair, and continued to stand in the box after he was thrown out at first and booed by the fans.


Chris Carpenter wrapped up an undefeated month and Brendan Ryan matched a career high with four hits for host St. Louis. Carpenter (9-3) worked around nine hits in seven-plus innings, allowing only Rafael Furcal's third-inning sacrifice fly. Carpenter is 4-0 in July.


Jonny Gomes belted two solo homers as host Cincinnati beat San Diego. Brandon Phillips had a three-run shot in the first, and Edwin Encarnacion added a solo shot. Homer Bailey (2-2) gave up a pair of solo homers, but held on for 7 1/3 innings to get his first victory since June 27.


Jamie Moyer (10-7) pitched 6 2/3 shutout innings, Ryan Howard hit a two-run homer and visiting Philadelphia defeated Arizona. The Phillies stretched their lead in the NL East to a season-high seven games over Atlanta and Florida, which were idle.


Fernando Tatis hit a pinch-hit grand slam in the eighth inning, and host New York beat Colorado. The Rockies bullpen had gone 9 2/3 innings without allowing a hit before Tatis connected off Franklin Morales with one out in the eighth.



Victor Martinez hit a three-run homer off Los Angeles closer Brian Fuentes (1-3) to make it 7-6 in the ninth inning, and visiting Cleveland rallied to beat the Angels. Jhonny Peralta followed with a homer. The Angels' Juan Rivera, Kendry Morales and Mike Napoli hit consecutive homers in the second.


A.J. Burnett allowed two hits in seven innings and Nick Swisher homered twice to lead visiting New York past Tampa Bay. The AL East leaders improved to 10-1 since the All-Star break, with Burnett (10-4) getting his fifth straight win. Swisher homered from both sides of the plate for the second time this season.


Josh Beckett became the American League's first 12-game winner and host Boston beat Oakland. Beckett (12-4) struck out 10 and allowed one walk and eight hits in seven innings before the bullpen extended its streak to 24 scoreless innings since the All-Star game.


Marco Scutaro matched his career high with four hits and visiting Toronto took advantage of Felix Hernandez's worst start of the season. Lyle Overbay and Rod Barajas homered for the Blue Jays, who had 15 hits. Hernandez (11-4) allowed seven runs and 11 hits in 5 2/3 innings.


Billy Butler had a career-high five hits and drove in three runs, and Brayan Pena beat out a run-scoring infield single to snap a seventh-inning tie for visiting Kansas City. Robinson Tejeda (1-0) pitched three scoreless innings of relief for the victory.


Rookie Tommy Hunter pitched a career-high seven innings, Nelson Cruz and Michael Young homered, and host Texas beat Detroit. Hunter (3-1) allowed one run and five hits in his sixth major league start.


Michael Cuddyer's two-run homer in the sixth inning pushed host Minnesota over Chicago. The Twins' Glenn Perkins (6-6) allowed six hits and three runs in seven innings.


Mets: New York fired team executive Tony Bernazard following a series of blowups that involved closer Francisco Rodriguez and minor league players. Bernazard was the vice president of player development for the Mets. The team had been investigating a report that he challenged members of their Double-A Binghamton affiliate to fight him during a postgame tirade this month. Bernazard also recently got into a heated conversation with Rodriguez, the team's All-Star reliever.

Trade: The San Francisco Giants acquired first baseman Ryan Garko from the Cleveland Indians, filling a big need in the infield and adding a key right-handed bat. Garko was batting .285 with 11 home runs and 39 RBIs in 78 games for Cleveland, including .343 this month. The Giants gave up Class-A left-hander Scott Barnes in the deal. Barnes was 12-3 with a 2.85 ERA and 99 strikeouts in 98 innings.

Suspensions: Cleveland Indians manager Eric Wedge and pitcher Winston Abreu were suspended and fined after the reliever plunked Seattle's Jack Hannahan on Saturday. Abreu received a three-game ban less than a month after he was traded to the Indians, and Wedge served his one-game suspension last night against the Angels.