Fielder, Percival Slam Door on Diamondbacks
The Angels didn’t make things any easier for exiled Manager Terry Collins Tuesday night.
Their interleague game against the Arizona Diamondbacks included seven pitching changes, two National League-style double switches, three lead changes and enough decisions to make a manager’s head spin.
Collins must have been a nervous wreck back in his hotel room, where he was serving the first game of an eight-game suspension, but by the end of the evening, his grief had turned to relief.
Cecil Fielder hit a grand slam in the third inning and a two-run single in the eighth, and Darin Erstad had a career-high five hits to lead the Angels to a 10-8 win over the Diamondbacks before 43,074 in Bank One Ballpark, extending their winning streak to nine.
The Angels pounded 16 hits, including three by Norberto Martin, but strong relief efforts by Rich DeLucia and Troy Percival played just as big a role in the victory.
The Diamondbacks trimmed an 8-6 Angel lead to 8-7 in the sixth when Tony Batista singled off Pep Harris, and Dave Dellucci and Matt Williams walked with two out.
The Angels summoned struggling left-hander Mike Holtz to face the left-handed hitting Travis Lee, who stroked an RBI single to left that scored one run. DeLucia came on to retire Jay Bell on a fly to deep right.
Fielder’s bases-loaded single gave the Angels two insurance runs in the eighth and gave Fielder six RBIs, one short of his career high.
Left-hander Greg Cadaret gave up a run in the eighth but Percival slammed the door in the ninth, striking out two for his 18th save.
A 6-4 Arizona lead after four innings evaporated when the Angels scored once in the fifth on Garret Anderson’s RBI single and three times in the sixth.
Martin, filling in for injured second baseman Justin Baughman, walked off starter Willie Blair, and Gary DiSarcina walked off reliever Clint Sodowsky.
Pinch-hitter Orlando Palmeiro hit a shot off Sodowsky’s mid-section. Sodowsky retrieved the ball and threw wildly to first, allowing Martin to score the tying run. Erstad lined an RBI single to center, and Dave Hollins bounced into a double play, Palmeiro scoring to give the Angels an 8-6 lead.
Chuck Finley (7-2) had eight strikeouts through three innings but three walks preceded Yamil Benitez’s first grand slam in the third that gave Arizona a 6-4 lead.
Benitez doubled and scored on Batista’s two-run homer in the second, but the Angels countered in the third with Erstad’s double, Hollins’ walk, an error by first baseman Lee on Jim Edmonds’ grounder and Fielder’s 11th grand slam, a bomb to center that gave the Angels a 4-2 lead.
It was the sixth time in major league history teams have hit grand slams in the same inning, the last time by Ryne Sandberg of the Chicago Cubs and Jeff King of the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sept. 9, 1992.
Finley was pulled after five innings after allowing five hits, six earned runs, five walks and two home runs, only one fewer than he had given up in his 13 previous starts.