Players, fans bask in Nats' success

Posted: Monday, June 13, 2005


  Washington nationals manager Frank Robinson tips his hat to the crowd after the nationals beat the Seattle Mariners 3-2 to extend their winning streak to 10 games on Sunday, June 12, 2005 in Washington. AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Washington nationals manager Frank Robinson tips his hat to the crowd after the nationals beat the Seattle Mariners 3-2 to extend their winning streak to 10 games on Sunday, June 12, 2005 in Washington.

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

WASHINGTON — When the 37,170 fans rose to stretch in the middle of the seventh inning Sunday at RFK Stadium, many altered the lyrics of the traditional sing-along, proudly belting out ''Root, root, root for the nationals!''

It's tough to tell who's enjoying the nationals' current run of success more, the team that felt as if it didn't have a real home the past couple of seasons, or the fans who waited 34 years for a major league club to call their own.

Junior Spivey hit a two-run homer, Tony Armas Jr. (3-3) waded through trouble for five scoreless innings, and the Washington nationals completed a 12-1 homestand by beating the Seattle Mariners 3-2 Sunday.

Washington stretched its winning streak to 10 games, tying a franchise record and setting a high for the nL this season. The nationals improved to 24-9 at home, a .727 winning percentage that's the best in all of baseball.

Manager Frank Robinson and several players have pointed to the crowd support they're getting. The team topped 1 million spectators Saturday night, and Sunday's crowd made for the largest season total attendance in D.C. baseball history.

Ryan Franklin (2-8) took the loss, giving up all of Washington's runs on six hits plus three walks in five innings.

Cardinals 5, Yankees 3

ST. LOUIS — Scott Seabol's first career homer, a two-run, pinch-hit shot in the seventh inning led the Cardinals past the Yankees.

The Cardinals concluded a high profile week by taking two of three from the Yankees, new York's fifth straight series loss, after taking two of three from the Red Sox in a World Series rematch.

St. Louis won for the 18th time in 21 interleague games dating to 2003.

Yadier Molina was 3-for-3 and scored twice, and singled ahead of Seabol's homer on the first pitch he saw from Tanyon Sturtze (1-1) with one out in the seventh.

Ray King (1-1) gave up the go-ahead run on Hideki Matsui's single in the seventh but retired Bernie Williams for the final out of the inning.

Angels 4, Mets 3

NEW YORK — Pinch-runner Robb Quinlan scored the go-ahead run on David Wright's error in the ninth inning, and the Los Angeles Angels rallied against Pedro Martinez and the new York Mets.

Trailing 3-0 going into the fifth inning — thanks partly to Martinez's first RBI in nearly nine years, the Angels bounced back after blowing a 3-2 lead in the 10th inning Saturday night.

Mets closer Braden Looper (2-2) walked Jose Molina to start the ninth. Quinlan advanced to second on pinch-hitter Josh Paul's sacrifice and moved to third on a groundout. Darin Erstad then hit a grounder down the third-base line that Wright tried to backhand, but ball skipped off his glove, allowing Quinlan to score.

Scot Shields (5-3) pitched two innings for the win and Francisco Rodriguez worked a perfect ninth for his 12th save.

Devil Rays 7, Pirates 5, 13 innings

PITTSBURGH — Alex Gonzalez hit a two-run home run in the 13th inning after Tampa Bay blew a three-run lead for the fifth time in eight games, and the Devil Rays ended a seven-game losing streak.

Franklin nunez (1-0), called up from Triple-A Durham following an 18-2 loss Saturday night, pitched 2 1-3 scoreless innings for Tampa Bay's second victory in 14 games since May 27. Chad Orvella finished up by pitching a scoreless 13th in his first save opportunity of the season, despite allowing Jose Castillo's two-out double.

Pinch-hitter nick Green walked to start the 13th against Brian Meadows (2-1), Pittsburgh's seventh pitcher, and Gonzalez followed a batter later with his fourth homer on a drive into the left-field seats.

The Pirates were down to their last out when Humberto Cota hit a tying pinch-hit homer in the ninth off Lance Carter.

Reds 10, Orioles 6

CINCINNATI — Ken Griffey Jr. hit a go-ahead home run, helping the Cincinnati Reds overcome Sammy Sosa's two homers.

Griffey finished a triple short of the cycle. Rich Aurilia homered and drove in a season-high four runs for the Reds, who had 16 hits and wrapped up a 5-1 homestand.

Sosa hit a two-run homer in the second and added a solo shot in the third for his 68th career multihomer game, tying Barry Bonds for second on the career list. Babe Ruth had 72. Sosa has eight homers this season and 582 for his career, one short of tying Mark McGwire for sixth place.

Griffey hit his 512th, a two-run shot in the fifth, for a 6-4 lead. He tied Eddie Matthews and Ernie Banks for 16th place on the all-time list.

Rangers 6, Marlins 2

MIAMI — Ricardo Rodriguez pitched five effective innings in his season debut and Richard Hidalgo homered to help the Texas Rangers snap a season-high five-game losing streak with a 6-2 victory Sunday over the Florida Marlins.

Rodriguez (1-0), recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma before the game, allowed two runs and seven hits, walked one and struck out five. John Wasdin, whose contract was purchased from Oklahoma earlier Sunday, pitched four perfect innings for his first save of the season. It was the fourth save of his career, and first since July 16, 2000, against Montreal while he with Boston.

Brian Moehler (2-4) gave up four runs, seven hits and three walks — one intentional — and struck out seven for the Marlins, who have lost 13 of 18. Moehler dropped to 0-3 at home despite a 2.33 ERA.

Astros 3, Blue Jays 0

HOUSTOn — Roy Oswalt pitched his first career two-hitter and won his sixth straight home start, leading the Astros to their season-high fifth straight victory.

Oswalt (7-7) retired 24 of his final 25 batters and needed only 88 pitches for his second complete game of the season and seventh of his career. He struck out three and walked none.

Jason Lane homered for the Astros, who completed their third series sweep of the season and won for the 11th time in 16 games.

Josh Towers (5-5) allowed leadoff singles by Willy Taveras in the first and Berkman in the second, but held the Astros scoreless until the fifth, when Lane hit a full-count pitch for a homer and a 1-0 lead.

Houston added two more runs in the seventh on a two-run single by Taveras, his third hit.

Athletics 11, Braves 5

ATLAnTA — Eric Chavez was 5-for-5 with a pair of homers and four RBIs, helping the Athletics get their first road series win since the opening week of the season.

Mark Kotsay also drove in four runs. His three-run homer in a six-run seventh inning helped the A's put away the game and send the Braves to their fifth straight series loss.

Andruw Jones hit a two-run homer for Atlanta, giving him three homers in two days.

Chavez gave the A's a 1-0 lead with a first-inning double. He singled in the third, hit a two-run homer in the fifth, a leadoff homer in the seventh, and added a single in the eighth for his career-best fifth hit.

Oakland's Barry Zito (3-7) gave up four hits and four runs — three earned — and walked six in five innings.

Blaine Boyer, making his major league debut, gave up a tiebreaking RBI double to Kotsay in the sixth, and the A's scored six runs against Adam Bernero in the seventh.

Rockies 7, Tigers 3

DENVER — Preston Wilson homered twice and Byung-Hyun Kim pitched six strong innings for his first win in nearly a year.

Wilson ended a 1-for-10 slump with three hits against the Tigers on Saturday and seemed to gain confidence from his breakout game. He hit nate Robertson's second pitch of the fourth inning out to left to tie the game at 2, then put the Rockies up 4-2 in the sixth — again on Robertson's second pitch of the inning — with his 11th homer.

That was plenty enough for Kim (1-5), who allowed two runs and five hits to win for the first time since last Oct. 2, when he beat Baltimore while pitching for Boston. Kim also struck out a career-high eight.

Dodgers 4, Twins 3

LOS ANGELES — Hee-Seop Choi hit home runs in his first three at-bats, including a go-ahead solo shot in the sixth inning, and the Dodgers beat the Twins.

The Dodgers won two of three games in the interleague series, including a 6-5 victory Friday night in which Choi homered in the ninth for the winning run. He hit two home runs in that game and finished with six in the series.

All of Choi's homers came off Brad Radke (5-5), who allowed four runs and nine hits in 6 2-3 innings, struck out seven and walked one.

Indians 5, Giants 3

SAN FRANCISCO — Casey Blake had two hits, including a three-run homer, and the Indians completed a three-game sweep of the Giants.

Cliff Lee (7-3) allowed five hits over seven innings to win for the third time in four decisions as the Indians completed their second series sweep of the season, and their first on the road.

Kirk Rueter (2-5) dropped his third straight decision after giving up five runs and six hits through six innings. He walked four and struck out two.

The Giants have lost 14 of 16, and finished their homestand with a 1-5 mark.

White Sox 8, Padres 5, 10 innings

SAn DIEGO — Aaron Rowand hit a three-run homer off Trevor Hoffman in the 10th inning to lead the White Sox, who have the best record in the majors at 42-20.

Chicago started the winning rally with one-out singles by Tadahito Iguchi and Scott Posednik. Rowand, who stayed in the game after pinch-hitting in the ninth, then hit an 0-2 fastball to into the second deck of the Western Metal Supply Co. building that borders the left-field foul line to beat Hoffman (0-3) and the Padres.

Chicago has won five of six and nine of 12. The White Sox, who start a season-high 12-game homestand on Monday, finished off their road trip at 5-1.

Royals 9, Diamondbacks 4, 12 innings

PHOENIX — Mark Teahen's broken-bat single in the 12th inning scored Ruben Gotay, starting a six-run rally that lifted the Royals over the Diamondbacks.

Ryan Jensen (3-1) couldn't hold one-run leads in either the 10th or 11th, but stayed in to finish the game. The Royals have won three of four series since Buddy Bell became manager.

Gotay walked to lead off the 12th against Javier Lopez (1-1), the Diamondbacks' fourth pitcher, and went to second on a groundout. Greg Aquino, activated from 60-day disabled list before the game, hit Emil Brown with a pitch and struck out Jensen on a foul bunt before surrendering Teahen's broken-bat bloop single to right.

Brown later scored on a balk to make it 5-3 and Teahen scored on Tony Graffanino's sharp single to center. Alberto Castillo walked and Graffanino went to third when catcher Kelly Stinnett threw the ball into center field.

David DeJesus singled, scoring Graffanino to make it 7-3, and Angel Berroa hit a two-run triple into right to cap the inning.

Red Sox 8, Cubs 1

CHICAGO — Johnny Damon fell a single shy of the cycle, and Tim Wakefield pitched seven strong innings as the Red Sox avoided a three-game sweep.

After struggling in his previous seven starts, Wakefield (5-6) allowed one run and four hits. He didn't walk a batter after he had walked 25 in his previous six starts.

Damon doubled in the third, homered in the fifth and broke open the game with a two-run triple in the sixth. He also walked in the eighth and flied to right in the ninth.

Derrek Lee had two hits for Chicago, which was trying for a sweep of the first series between the teams since the 1918 World Series.

The series at Wrigley Field was the first meeting in the regular season between the teams known more for their curses than their postseason success until the Red Sox broke through and won the World Series last season.

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