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The Grand Slam: Nationals rally with pair of homers in ninth at Arizona

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Washington Nationals manager Matt Williams returned to the desert and found sweet relief. With his team battered by injuries and down to its final three outs Monday night, Williams needed somebody to step forward. Danny Espinosa and Kevin Frandsen might not be the first names Williams would pick, but they did just fine powering a comeback against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Espinosa hit a tying solo home run in the ninth against closer Addison Reed, and two outs later Frandsen went deep with a go-ahead, pinch-hit homer to fuel Washington's improbable 6-5 victory at Chase Field. It was Reed's second blown save and Arizona's first loss in 12 games after having a lead in the ninth inning or later. The D-backs had 13 hits and stranded the tying run at third base in the bottom of the ninth before Rafael Soriano closed them out.

Williams, who played with the D-backs from 1998-2003 and coached on Kirk Gibson's staff before being hired by Washington. Chase Field played a Williams highlight package and the fans gave him a nice ovation after the first inning. His team came into Arizona struggling, having lost five of eight starting players to injury. The Nats suffered a three-game sweep at Oakland before coming to Phoenix.

"We needed that win," Espinosa said. "Coming off the series we just had, we really needed this. It's a good win."


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Citi Field is tough on power hitters, but Yankee Stadium couldn't hold Travis d'Arnaud, Curtis Granderson, Eric Young and Chris Young in the Subway Series opener. Each went deep, with Chris Young's two-run shot against Preston Claiborne being the difference in a 9-7 victory for the team from Flushing. The offensive effort overcame a tough night for Bartolo Colon, who allowed 11 hits.

The Yankees wore their unattractive white-brimmed caps again. It was for a good cause!



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Bewildered by having no strikeouts in his previous performance, Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez returned to the mound against the Tampa Bay Rays and struck out seven in a 12-5 victory. Hernandez kept the Rays off the scoreboard until the seventh inning, when they got to him for four runs and the umpiring of Mark Ripperger got to King Felix. After manager Lloyd McClendon removed Hernandez from the game, the pitcher shouted his displeasure at Ripperger over the strike zone and was ejected — which basically meant he couldn't sit in the dugout anymore.

"I'm a pro baseball player now. First ejection," Hernandez joked.


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Every time Tim Lincecum of the San Francisco Giants takes the mound for a start, he has to wonder: Is this when he gets it all back? Lincecum came into play against the Braves with 35 strikeouts in 35 2/3 innings, so he's still got something. He also had allowed 50 hits and had a 5.55 ERA, so something has been off with the two-time Cy Young winner.

Lincecum struck out 11 in a 4-2 victory against the Braves at AT&T Park on Monday, drawing an ovation from the crowd he acknowledged after going 7 2/3 innings. Lincecum allowed two hits and had four walks in his most encouraging outing of the season.

"The result today was the best of any game I've had so far," Lincecum said. "It's pretty special here every time these guys give you something like that. I'm not one to be the big acknowledger of something like that, it's kind of hard for me, but I definitely take it in and definitely appreciate it."


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David Brown is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rdbrown@yahoo-inc.com and follow him on Twitter!

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