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Big Daddy's Slam, Six RBIs Lift Angels

Cecil Fielder put on a power display against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Fielder hit a grand slam and had six RBIs as the Anaheim Angels beat the Diamondbacks 10-8 Tuesday night for their ninth consecutive win.

"You want to be up there aggressive," Fielder said. "You want to go up there with an idea of what the man's throwing in that situation. With the bases loaded, you know he's not going to try to groove one."

Arizona starter Willie Blair, who allowed a double to Darin Erstad and a walk before an error by first baseman Travis Lee loaded the bases, said the mistakes hurt worse than Fielder's third-inning homer on an offspeed pitch.

"You can't be giving up free passes to this team," Blair said.

Erstad went 5-for-5 and drove in the go-ahead run. It was the first five-hit game of his career and raised his average to .325 before the Diamondbacks walked him intentionally in the ninth.

"If we hadn't walked him, he might have had six," manager Buck Showalter said.

Interim manager Joe Maddon said Erstad, who moved into second place in the AL with 83 hits, works for his success.

"Ersty makes adjustments constantly," said Maddon, a bench coach who filled in for suspended manager Terry Collins. "There's no big secret as to why he's such a good hitter. He is talented and skillful, but the guy is so into it. He constantly studies video, he takes very structured batting practice. He knows what he wants to do."

After Fielder, who also had two singles, hit the first grand slam at Bank One Ballpark, Yamil Benitez hit another in the bottom of the inning the sixth time two teams have hit grand slams in the same inning.

Chuck Finley (7-2) won his third straight despite allowing six runs, five walks and five hits in five innings. It was his second-shortest game this season.

"My offspeed pitch was just terrible tonight," Finley said. "I had to throw my fastball to the middle part of the plate because once I got the bases loaded I couldn't put the guy (Benitez) on again, and he hit it out."

Troy Percival pitched the ninth for his 18th save as the Angels won their first game without Collins, who started his eight-game suspension for his role in last week's brawl with the Royals.

"Anytime we win, Terry's going to have a good night," Percival said.

Blair was staked to a 6-4 lead but gave up an RBI single to Garret Anderson in the fifth and was pulled after he walked Noberto Martin to start the sixth.

Reliever Clint Sodowsky (1-3) walked the first batter he faced, and committed a throwing error after Orlando Palmeiro's base hit back to the mound. That allowed Martin to score the tying run.

Erstad lined a single to break the tie, and Palmeiro scored on a doble play to make it 8-6.

The Diamondbacks loaded the bases in the sixth before Rich Delucia got Jay Bell to fly out.

The Diamondbacks jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second on a two-run homer by Tony Batista. The Angels took a 4-2 lead in the third on Fielder's 11th grand slam of his career and first since 1996.

The Diamondbacks answered in their third when Finley walked the bases loaded in front of Benitez, who hit his first career grand slam.

Travis Lee had an RBI single in the sixth, cutting the deficit to 8-7 until Fielder's two-run single in the eighth. David Dellucci's RBI groundout in the eighth made it 10-8.

Notes: The last time there were two grand slams in an inning was Sept. 9, 1992, when Ryne Sandberg hit one for the Chicago Cubs and Jeff King for the Pittsburgh Pirates. ... Maddon is 9-14 as an interim manager. The first 22 games were in 1996. ... Erstad had Anaheim's first five-hit game in nine innings since Rex Hudler on May 26, 1996. ... Finley's eight strikeouts gave him 104 for the season, third in the AL. ... Anaheim's Tim Salmon did not play because there was no designated hitter, and he has an injured left foot. ... Arizona turned a franchise-record four double plays. ... During their win streak, the Angels have outscored opponents 55-30, with 13 homers and 48 RBI.

©1998 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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