As Mark McGwire got a little closer to Roger Maris, so did Kevin Tapani.
McGwire hit his major league-leading 43rd homer Monday night, tying the Cardinals' record for homers in a season as St. Louis routed the Padres 13-1 at San Diego (see story on Page D1).And while homers are nearly an everyday occurrence for McGwire, Tapani got to experience seeing a ball he hit sail over the wall for the first time in his life.
And the Chicago Cubs pitcher did it in style with a grand slam, leading the Cubs to an 11-4 victory at Atlanta.
"That's the first one over the fence," said Tapani, who grew up in Escanaba, Mich. "We had a lot of snow, so there weren't a lot of chances."
Following his milestone homer, Tapani was unable to get his souvenir away from two greedy Atlanta fans.
"No, they said they wouldn't give it up," Tapani said. "They wanted a flight to Chicago and free tickets to a Cubs game, or something like that."
It was the first grand slam by a Cubs pitcher since 1972, when Burt Hooton hit one against the New York Mets, and the first by a major league pitcher since 1996, when St. Louis' Donovan Osborne hit one against San Diego.
BREWERS 5, MARLINS 3: At Miami, Jeromy Burnitz hit a three-run homer and Scott Karl (8-4) allowed no earned runs in seven innings as Milwaukee improved to 8-0 against Florida this season.
Milwaukee scored four runs in the first inning against Livan Hernandez (7-7), who took the mound hours after attending a court hearing on allegations that he physically abused his ex-girlfriend. She is seeking a permanent restraining order against him.
PHILLIES 3, EXPOS 1: At Montreal, Curt Schilling pitched a five-hitter and struck out nine to take over the major league lead with 198.
Schilling (10-9), who also singled home Philadelphia's first run off Carlos Perez (7-10) in the fifth, walked one in his major league-leading 10th complete game.
PIRATES 3, METS 1: At New York, Francisco Cordova (8-8) and Ricardo Rincon combined on a five-hitter and Aramis Ramirez hit a two-run homer as Pittsburgh won its fourth straight.
The Pirates won for just the third time in their last 15 games.
ASTROS 10, ROCKIES 9: At Houston, Tim Bogar's RBI single in the ninth inning off Dave Veres (0-1) helped Houston hold on for its fourth straight win after blowing a seven-run lead.
Carl Everett went 4-for-5 with three RBIs and four runs scored for the Astros, who tied a season-high with 18 hits.
DODGERS 2, REDS 0: At Los Angeles, Darren Dreifort (6-8) pitched a one-hitter over eight innings and Jeff Shaw struck out the side in the ninth.
Dreifort was removed just three outs from his first shutout and second complete game in 18 career starts. Shaw, traded from Cincinnati to the Dodgers just before the All-Star break, then fanned three former teammates for his 26th save and third with Los Angeles.
GIANTS 5, DIAMONDBACKS 3: At San Francisco, J.T. Snow hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning as the Giants ended a four-game losing streak.
Ramon Martinez, a late-inning replacement for second baseman Jeff Kent, led off the eighth with a single off Bobby Chouinard (0-1). Rich Aurilia sacrificed before Snow hit his 11th homer.