MILWAUKEE – Josh Willingham hit two grand slams and tied a franchise record with eight RBI, powering the Washington Nationals to a 14-6 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday night.
Willingham became the 13th player to hit two grand slams in a game and first since Boston’s Bill Mueller hit one from each side of the plate on July 29, 2003, against Texas. Willingham’s eight RBI were the most in Nationals history and tied the franchise mark, accomplished last by Tim Wallach for Montreal against San Diego in 1990.
Willingham hit his 15th homer off Jeff Suppan (5-8) with two out in the fifth, capping a six-run inning with a drive to left-center that struck the facing of the second deck. He connected again in the sixth, finishing a seven-run rally with a one-out shot off Mark DiFelice that hit the fencing above the Brewers’ bullpen and dropped in to make it 13-5.
Willingham, who also doubled in the second, finished 3 for 5 and Ryan Zimmerman hit a solo homer in the eighth for the Nationals, who have won three straight to raise their major league-worst record to 31-68. They can match their season-best winning streak with a victory Tuesday.
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Jason Bergmann (1-1) pitched 1 innings after rookie Craig Stammen was pulled one out short of qualifying for the win with Washington clinging to a 6-5 lead.
With series against the Nationals and San Diego, this was supposed to be the point of the schedule where the Brewers made up some much needed ground. Milwaukee is actively looking to trade for a starting pitcher before Friday’s deadline, but it may not matter much. The Brewers have allowed nine homers in the last four games.
Corey Hart hit his second homer in as many days and Ryan Braun added a two-run shot but the Brewers (49-50) fell below .500 for the first time since April 27 and are 7-15 since entering July with a two-game lead in the NL Central.
Willingham’s homers overshadowed a less-than-stellar start by Stammen. The rookie right-hander trailed 2-0 before Willingham put him ahead 6-2 after Suppan allowed an RBI single to Nyjer Morgan and walked Adam Dunn with the bases loaded earlier in the fifth.
Milwaukee cut it to 6-5 on Felipe Lopez’s RBI single and Braun’s 20th homer.