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Inside-The-Park Slams Astros


When Tony Womack saw his line drive get past Lance Berkman, he just kept running.

Womack hit an inside-the-park grand slam off Billy Wagner in the eighth inning to lift the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 7-4 victory over the Houston Astros on Wednesday night.

The Diamondbacks loaded the bases in the eighth off Jay Powell (4-2) with two walks and a hit batsman. Wagner came in and got in front of Womack 0-2.

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  • Womack then lined a ball to left field that got past a diving Berkman and rolled to the wall. Womack sprinted around the bases and narrowly beat Carlos Hernandez's relay.

    "I'm running and I knew when the ball got past him I had third," Womack said. "But I didn't know who got the ball after he missed it. I just had to trust my third-base coach (Brian Butterfield). By the time I was sliding home, all the energy had just sucked out of me."

    Berkman, who has been in the major leagues just six games, has only played in the outfield two years. He was an All-American first baseman at Rice when he was taken by Houston in the first round of the 1997 draft.

    "I don't think it's because I haven't played the outfield long," he said. "I've played it for two seasons in the minors and it doesn't change any in the major leagues. "

    "When it came off the bat, I thought I had a good jump on it. But the closer I got, the more it started to dive down. (Lunging for it) turned out to not be the right thing."

    It was the first career grand slam for Womack and the first inside-the-park home run in franchise history. It gave the Diamondbacks their 51st win, the same number they had Aug. 24 in their inaugural season.

    "Someone askeme if I'd seen one before," Arizona manager Buck Showalter said. "I was the third-base coach for the Yankees when Deion Sanders got one, but not with that many guys on the pillows."

    "Astroturf certainly helped. A lot of times, the ball will bounce on you on turf."

    The last major league inside-the-park grand slam was by Seattle's Dan Wilson against Detroit May 3, 1998. The last in the National League was hit by the Padres Tony Gwynn June 26, 1997 against the Dodgers.

    Wagner, the top closer in the NL this season, has been anything but against Arizona. He has allowed seven runs in 2 1-3 innings against the Diamondbacks and two runs in 42 innings against everyone else.

    "I've never seen anything like it before," said Wagner, who had not allowed an inherited runner to score this season. "When you come in with a bases loaded situation, you've got to make a good pitch. I had an 0-2 count on him and thought I had thrown a good pitch. But it falls in for a grand slam."

    Bobby Chouinard (3-1) pitched the eighth for the win and Matt Mantei got three outs for his third save since being traded to Arizona and 13th overall.

    Jeff Bagwell hit a three-run homer, his 32nd, to spark a four-run fifth inning that gave the Astros a 4-3 lead.

    Armando Reynoso allowed four runs and six hits in six innings. It is the sixth consecutive no-decision for Reynoso, who has not lost since April 27, an 11-0 defeat here against the Astros.

    Arizona took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on Steve Finley's double off the center-field wall that drove in Womack and Matt Williams.

    Bernard Gilkey added an RBI single in the seventh.

    Notes

    • Arizona has six grand slams, one more than all of last season.
    • Biggio extended his current hitting streak to 13 games with an infield single in the seventh inning.
    • Houston is the only team in the majors with three pitchers who each have 10 or more wins in Jose Lima (13-4), Mike Hampton (12-3) and Shane Reynolds (10-7).
    • Luis Gonzalez ended his hitting streak at 11 games by going 0-for-4 with a walk. It was Gonzalez' third double-figure hitting streak this season.

      ©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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