Wed, Apr 29, 2009 - Page 20 News List

Santos’ first ever grand slam powers Mets by Marlins

Florida Marlins outfielder Cody Ross fails to catch a triple by New York Mets batter David Wright in the sixth inning of their game in New York on Monday.

PHOTO: REUTERS

NATIONAL LEAGUE

REUTERS AND AP, NEW YORK

Omir Santos hit the first grand slam home run of his career as the New York Mets scored six runs in the first inning to hand the Florida Marlins their seventh consecutive defeat, a 7-1 loss, on Monday.

The four-run homer off loser Anibal Sanchez cleared the left-center field fence and was the first grand slam in the Mets’ new stadium, Citi Field.

“It was a great, great moment,” said Santos, who celebrates his 28th birthday today. “I knew it would at least hit the wall. But this is a big park.”

Gary Sheffield and David Wright had run-scoring singles before rookie catcher Santos’ big hit for the Mets (9-10).

New York starter John Maine (1-2) allowed one hit — a first-inning RBI single by Florida’s Jorge Cantu — over six innings for the win. He struck out four and walked three.

Florida did not get another hit until the eighth inning as relievers Sean Green, J.J. Putz and Francisco Rodriguez combined with Maine for a two-hitter.

“It’s good to get the first win,” Maine told reporters. “But I’ve still got to keep working. There’s still a lot of areas to improve on.”

The Marlins (11-8) have not won a game since April 19 when they beat the Washington Nationals for their 11th victory in 12 games. The hot start had them leading the National League, but they have now slumped to fourth place.

Sanchez gave up four hits and two walks in the first inning as the Mets sent nine batters to the plate. He yielded eight hits while striking out four in six innings.

New York scored its final run on a sacrifice fly by Ryan Church in the eighth.

CARDINALS 3, BRAVES 2

At Atlanta, Georgia, Rick Ankiel drove in two runs for St Louis to back another strong outing by Joel Pineiro, who equaled the best start of his career when the Cardinals edged Atlanta.

Ankiel had a pair of two-out, run-scoring singles — one in the second inning to push the Cardinals to a 2-0 lead and another in the seventh for a 3-1 edge.

Pineiro (4-0) went six-and-two-third innings, allowing seven hits and a pair of runs while walking none. He also won his first four decisions for Seattle in 2001.

ASTROS 4, REDS 1

At Cincinnati, Ohio, Lance Berkman hit his 20th homer at Great American Ball Park, the most by any visiting player, and Hunter Pence hit a tiebreaking double in the ninth inning to lead Houston to a victory over Cincinnati.

Pence’s two-run double off Francisco Cordero (0-1) broke a 1-all tie and sent the Astros to their 10th straight win at Great American Ball Park, a streak that started near the end of the 2007 season and is the longest in the majors.

Naturally, Berkman had a hand in it, hitting a solo homer in the sixth off Johnny Cueto. The opposite-field shot snapped his 0-for-16 slump and gave him more career homers (46) and RBIs (127) against Cincinnati than any other team.

PHILLIES 13, NATIONALS 11

At Philadelphia, Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez each hit a grand slam to rally Philadelphia past Washington for its fourth straight win.

Howard’s shot to center in the fifth inning tied the score at 6.

After the Nationals scored four times in the eighth to go up 11-7, Ibanez capped a six-run surge in the bottom half with a two-out drive to right off Joel Hanrahan (0-1).

With star closer Brad Lidge nursing a sore knee, Ryan Madson got three outs for his first save this season. Lidge is day-to-day with inflammation in his right knee, the Phillies said.

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