CHICAGO (AP)—Jerome Williams pitched with emotion.
Williams shut down the Atlanta Braves with his pitching arm, hurt them with his bat and left to a loud ovation—the loudest cheers presumably coming from his father Glenn Sr., who underwent a kidney and liver transplant in February.
With his dad in the stands for the first time this season, Jerome Williams took a no-hit bid into the fifth inning and had the first multihit game of his career to lead the Chicago Cubs to a 10-1 victory Tuesday night.
“(After) spring training and the trouble my family went through, just seeing my dad out there—just to know that he’s here and supporting me—I had to step up,” said Williams, who began the season with the San Francisco Giants. “I had to get onboard, have a good start.”
Williams (4-6) did just that.
He allowed one run and three hits in 7 2-3 innings, his longest outing this season. After walking Rafael Furcal leading off the game, he retired 11 in a row before Andruw Jones led off the fifth with his 40th homer.
At the plate, Williams was 2-for-4 with a single, a double and a run.
Jeromy Burnitz, in a 15-for-71 slide coming in, backed him by hitting his eighth career grand slam and his first since May 2003. That two-out drive in the fourth off reliever Joey Devine—Burnitz’s 19th homer—increased the Cubs’ lead to 8-0.
“I’ve definitely for a week now felt much more solid up there,” said Burnitz, who was 2-for-4 with five RBIs. “I’m just doing things a little more consistently. I’m getting some better pitches and my stroke feels better as well.”
Braves starter John Thomson (3-4) lasted just 3 2-3 innings for his second straight start, allowing five runs and seven hits. He gave up seven runs and eight hits in a loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday.
“It seemed like progress,” Thomson said. “I thought I threw better. I got a lot of ground balls, just not right at guys. With ground balls in the whole, it’s kind of hard to get guys out like that.”
Williams, 1-for-17 this year coming in, had a leadoff double in the third. Todd Walker hit an RBI grounder, Burnitz walked with the bases loaded and Neifi Perez blooped a two-run single to center to make it 4-0.
Thomson left after walking Todd Walker with two outs and none on in the fourth. Derrek Lee greeted Devine with a double to left that put runners at second and third, and Aramis Ramirez walked. That brought up Burnitz, who hit a 1-0 pitch into the shrubs in center.
“I just have to keep learning, that’s the biggest thing—keep trying to develop and keep trying to make pitches,” Devine said. “This game can definitely get you down if you let it. Tomorrow’s going to be a new day. I’ll continue to learn from a mistake. He hit a good pitch. It’s just one of those things. That’s baseball.”
Williams made few mistakes.
After going 0-3 in his previous four starts, he threw 112 pitches—68 for strikes. He left after allowing a single by Johnny Estrada and walking Peter Orr. Reliever Roberto Novoa retired Marcus Giles on a groundout to end the eighth.
For Williams, it was an emotional and gratifying night.
“It was just hard,” he said. “I was worrying about my father a lot. He’s the one that put me in playing baseball. I’m just happy father’s here, my family’s here.”
Cubs SS Nomar Garciaparra may be headed back to the DL, this time with back spasms. Garciaparra, who spent 3 1/2 months on the DL with a groin injury, did not start for the fourth time in five games. “We’ve got to make a decision, probably tonight or tomorrow,” manager Dusty Baker said. “We can’t go short-handed.” Still weakened by groin surgery, Garciaparra’s pain mounted when St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Julian Tavarez drilled him a week and a half ago. “I came back quickly, worked hard, built my strength up, and I was doing great,” he said. “Getting hit there might have added to the whole thing.” … Jerry Hairston Jr., activated Friday from the DL, started in center field for Corey Patterson. Hairston had a ligament injury in his left elbow. … Braves manager Bobby Cox said C Johnny Estrada, who missed 14 games with a lumbar and cervical strain, won’t play Wednesday afternoon. Estrada, who was activated Monday, started two straight games.