SAN FRANCISCO (AP)—Jose Guillen spent the hours before the game sleeping on a clubhouse couch, his body almost completely covered in yellow towels to keep him warm.
The medicine he took for his bruised left triceps made him tired, and he figured there was no way he would play a day after getting hit by a pitch. He took a few swings in the cage just in case.
When he eventually woke up around the first inning, Washington manager Frank Robinson called for Guillen’s services.
Guillen had two key hits and two RBIs, and Ryan Church hit a tiebreaking, bases-clearing double in the ninth inning—finishing with career highs of four hits and four RBIs—and the Nationals sent the San Francisco Giants to their season-worst fourth straight loss with an 11-8 win Saturday.
“That was one of the weirdest games in baseball,” said Guillen, who wasn’t wearing his belt and was missing his batting glove when he reached the dugout. “He really caught me by surprise. It worked out well.”
What a great start for Guillen with his new team after the way things ended last fall with the Angels. The congenial outfielder was suspended the last eight games of the regular season and dropped from the playoff roster after throwing a tantrum in the dugout and clubhouse when he was removed for a pinch-runner Sept. 25.
So far, he’s popular in the nation’s capital.
“The little things will help you win ballgames,” Robinson said. “He is slowly becoming the leader of this ballclub. The ballclub is taking on his attitude: hard-nosed.”
Accardo, who made his major league debut Wednesday, then gave up a single and a walk and was replaced by Jim Brower. Brower walked Vinny Castilla, then allowed Church’s second three-run double in as many games.
“We know we are not out until the final out is made,” Church said.
Alou finally gave the Giants a glimpse of what he can do with runners in scoring position, connecting for his third career grand slam with his third-inning shot to left-center off John Patterson. It was his first slam since April 28, 1997, when Alou was with Florida—2,931 days earlier.
The Nationals rallied from a four-run deficit with seven runs in the fourth. They had 10 or more hits for the fifth straight game and sixth in seven.
Washington won 9-3 Friday night, scoring all its runs in two innings.
Guillen had a pinch-hit, two-run single in the big inning and also doubled. He had an MRI exam before the game and didn’t start as a precaution.
Schmidt’s recent struggles are baffling. He insists he’s not hurt.
The right-hander finished fourth in voting for the NL Cy Young award last year when he won 18 games, but has struggled recently with his velocity and pitch count.
“I have no command. It’s very frustrating,” said Schmidt, who allowed six runs and six hits and walked six. “Fatigue would be my best guess. I’m throwing pitches with nothing on them. When you have no command on top of that, it makes for a very frustrating afternoon. I feel healthy. There’s nothing the matter with me. But it’s getting worse every time out.”
He was done after 3 2-3 innings Saturday, having thrown 92 pitches. He went 6 2-3 innings in each of his previous two starts, but threw 121 pitches in both those outings after making 131 pitches in seven innings in his start before that.
Schmidt hasn’t won since April 10 at Colorado, a span of five starts.
“He was not the same,” Giants manager Felipe Alou said. “He had all his pitches today but did not have the stuff we wanted to see.”
Patterson, who won his last two decisions, left after three innings— marking the first time he’d gone less than six innings in six starts this year.
San Francisco SS Omar Vizquel moved past Rabbit Maranville into seventh on the career list for games by a shortstop (2,154). He stole his ninth base in the first. … Alou and his manager father are the fourth father-son tandem to hit grand slams for the same team. The others are Hal and Brian McRae (Royals), Ken Griffey Sr. and Jr. (Cincinnati) and Bobby and Barry Bonds with the Giants. … Giants 2B Ray Durham didn’t play for the second straight game because of two strained groins. Durham believes he will avoid the disabled list and only be out a couple days. … Washington’s Brian Schneider had a season-high three hits.