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Grand Night For Grand Slams

On a grand night for hitters, pitchers got slammed.

For the first time in 129 years of major league baseball, five grand slams were hit in one day.

Fernando Tatis of the St. Louis Cardinals and Jose Vidro of the Montreal Expos got it started Monday night.

Then Mike Lowell of the Florida Marlins connected, Bernie Williams of the New York Yankees followed and Jay Buhner of the Seattle Mariners set the record.

The Cardinals' Fernando Tatis

Buhner was unaware of the record.

"I did? That's cool. Right on!" he said.

Four grand slams were hit in one day many times since major league baseball began in 1871, but never five. The last time four were hit was July 28, 1998, when Sammy Sosa, Gabe Alvarez, Darrin Jackson and Ray Lankford connected.

This has been a season of slams in the big leagues. The five raised the majors' total to 96 the record of 141 was set in 1996.

"It's not necessarily the quality or lack of quality of pitching, it's the style," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "I think pitchers do not want the guy to hit the ball, so it's ball one, ball two and then you've got to come down the middle."

Marlin Mike Lowell launches the first grand slam of his career.

After becoming the first player to hit two slams in the same inning on April 23 at Los Angeles, Tatis hit the third of his career on Billy Brewer's first pitch in the fourth inning during a 12-6 win at Philadelphia.

With three slams this year, Tatis tied Jim Bottomley (1925) and Keith Hernandez (1977) for the Cardinals' record. Tatis is 7-for-10 with 22 RBIs when hitting with the bases loaded this season.

Vidro connected on his first pitch from Carlos Almanzar in the sixth inning of the Expos' 8-0 win over visiting San Diego. It was his first grand slam in the majors and Montreal's first since last Aug. 27.

Lowell hit his first career grand slam on a 3-1 pitch in the eighth inning against San Francisco's John Johnstone, who had just relieved starter Livan Hernandez. The home run tied the score at 4, and Florida went on to beat the Giants 5-4.

Bernie Williams of the Yankees.

Williams' sixth career slam came at Oakland Athletics on a full-count pitch by reliever Mike Oquist, capping an eight-run second inning that gave the New York Yankees an 8-0 lead in a 12-8 win over the Athletics. Williams started toward first after taking a 2-2 pitch for a ball, then returned to the plate as his teammates laughed in the dugout.

Buhner, who had been 0-for-4 with the bases loaded this year, connected in the sixth inning at Safeco Field on a 3-1 pitch from John Snyder of the White Sox. The homer gave the Mariners a 6-3 lead in a 6-4 win over Chicago.

The three grand slams in one day tied the AL record, last accomplished last Aug. 14.

There have been 57 slams in the AL this season and 39 in the NL. Both leagues set records in 1996, with 81 slams in the AL and 60 in the NL.


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