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Bonilla's Slam Highlights Homer Show

September 17, 1997|From Associated Press

The Florida Marlins were bold enough to challenge the Colorado Rockies in a game of home run derby.

It's a game that Colorado usually wins, but not Tuesday.

Florida won the battle of home runs, including Bobby Bonilla's two-out grand slam in the bottom of the ninth to pull out a 9-6 victory at Miami.

Bonilla fouled off six two-strike pitches before hitting the eighth grand slam of his career. It was the seventh homer of the game, including four by the Marlins.

"That was a lot of fun. I felt like I was 12 years old again," Bonilla said.

Bonilla's homer extended Florida's lead in the NL wild-card race to six games over the New York Mets. Colorado lost for just the third time in 19 games.

"It came down to their last at-bat, and he [Bonilla] came through for them," Colorado Manager Don Baylor said. "We had our chances. We hit solo home runs, but they got the one at the end of the game with men on base. Those add up in a hurry."

Trailing 6-5 in the ninth, Florida's Craig Counsell singled off Jerry Dipoto (5-3), and John Cangelosi walked. Kurt Abbott sacrificed before Counsell was thrown out at the plate by third baseman Vinny Castilla.

Gary Sheffield walked to load the bases for Bonilla, who hit one over the right-field fence for his 17th homer this season. It was the first homer off Dipoto in 65 innings, which was the longest streak in the majors.

Jay Powell (7-2) pitched two hitless innings.

Philadelphia 3, New York 2-- Curt Schilling passed the 300-strikeout mark and took a perfect game into the eighth inning before settling for a three-hitter as the Phillies beat the Mets at Philadelphia.

Pinch-hitter Luis Lopez broke up Schilling's bid for perfection with a one-out, line-drive single to center in the eighth. Schilling (16-10) had retired 22 straight before Lopez's hit.

In the fourth inning, Schilling recorded his 300th strikeout this season by fanning Edgardo Alfonzo. Schilling is the 13th pitcher to reach the 300-plateau and the first in the NL since Houston's Mike Scott in 1986.

Schilling finished with nine strikeouts, bringing his season total to 305, and didn't give up a walk.

Schilling is the first right-hander to strike out 300 since Scott struck out 306 in 1986.

The major-league leader in strikeouts this season, Schilling has a chance to break Steve Carlton's team record of 310, set in 1972, and J.R. Richard's NL record for strikeouts by a right-hander (313, in 1979).

Chicago 5, Cincinnati 0--Kevin Tapani pitched a one-hitter for his first NL shutout and Sammy Sosa snapped a scoreless tie with a two-run, sixth-inning homer as the Cubs defeated the Reds at Chicago.

Tapani (7-3) won his fifth consecutive start by outdueling Kent Mercker (8-11), who gave up just three hits before giving up Mark Grace's one-out single in the sixth followed by Sosa's homer on a 3-0 count.

Houston 15, San Diego 3--Sean Berry hit a three-run double and Jeff Bagwell hit his 40th homer at Houston as the the Astros eliminating the defending champion Padres from the NL West race.

The Astros, who have a 3 1/2-game lead over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the NL Central, open a two-game series in Pittsburgh today, the first of meetings before the season ends Sept. 28.

The Padres, last year's NL West champs, fell to 71-80, 13 games behind NL West-leading Los Angeles with 11 games left.

Bagwell's two-run homer came in the fourth inning and broke his single-season season club record of 39 homers in 1994. It came in a six-run inning for the Astros, who led 13-1 after four innings.

Pittsburgh 8, Montreal 2--Kevin Martin, Kevin Young and Shawon Dunston homered in a four-run as the Pirates defeated the Expos at Pittsburgh.

The Pirates swept the two-game series--their first back-to-back wins since Aug. 23-24--to remain 3 1/2 games behind Houston in the NL Central.

Martin matched a career high with four RBIs to back the six-hit pitching of Pirates starter Jon Lieber (10-14), who lasted 7 2/3 innings in his longest start since a complete game against the White Sox on June 30.

The Pirates totaled only 18 hits in losing two of three last weekend to the Cubs. But they had 25 in the two games against Montreal after Young exploded in a tense clubhouse following a 3-2 loss Sunday, challenging the his teammates to break out of their slump.

Young, out since Aug. 2 with an injured right thumb, then backed up his own words by hitting a dramatic, game-winning homer in the 10th inning Monday--his first at-bat since coming off the disabled list.

Young followed up that homer with another on Tuesday.





Player Team Performance Team's Result Bobby Bonilla Florida 3 for 5, grand slam, double, 5 RBIs Win Eddie Perez Atlanta 2 for 3, grand slam Win Al Martin Pittsburgh 1 for 2, two-run home run, 4 RBIs Win




Player Team Performance Team's Result Kevin Tapani Chicago 9 innings, 0 runs, 1 hit Win Curt Schilling Philadelphia 9 innings, 2 runs, 3 hits, 9 strikeouts Win Ramon Garcia Houston 6 innings, 6 hits, 8 strikeouts Win


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