Secure with Nats, Guillen hits homer in 5-1 victory

He gets deal through 2006, then leads win over Mets

April 30, 2005|By Jeff Barker | Jeff Barker,SUN STAFF

WASHINGTON - Like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, maybe all Jose Guillen needed was to finally feel at home.

The Washington Nationals' cleanup hitter is playing for his seventh major league team. Last season, he was suspended indefinitely by the Angels following an outburst after being pulled from a game.

Yesterday, the Nationals an nounced they were exercising a $4 million option on Guillen for the 2006 season, and that they hoped to keep him around for a long time. It all must have been music to Guillen's ears because he went out and homered and scored twice to pace Washing ton's 5-1 win over the New York Mets.

"Let's forget about the past," Guillen said.

The win was aided by eight strong innings from Nationals starter Livan Hernandez, who also hit a home run.

Guillen's sixth homer, in the fourth inning, was the first hit off New York starter Jae Weong Seo, who had allowed only one runner up to then - on a first-inning walk.

One inning later, Brian Schneider homered just inside the right-field foul pole to make it 2-1. It was his second home run of the year.

One out later, Hernandez hit his sixth career home run to make it 3-1.

"At the time, it was a real big run for us and coming from an unexpected source, that was big," Nationals manager Frank Robinson said.

The Nationals had just three hits to that point. All were home runs. It doesn't get much more efficient than that.

Hernandez (3-2) gave up one run and nine hits through eight innings.

Robinson said he wouldn't have stuck with any other pitcher as long as he did Hernandez, who threw 130 pitches.

"I know him. He tells me he's got another inning, I believe him. He is conditioned to do that, and he is able to do that," Robinson said.

But it was largely Guillen's day. The team lavished praise on the outfielder at a pre-game news conference attended by general manager Jim Bowden and Robinson.

"Our goal is for him to be our right fielder for a long time," Bowden said.

Guillen was suspended in September for a blowup after he was pulled from a game by manager Mike Scioscia.

Said Robinson, his new manager: "I don't pay much attention to what people say and what people do someplace else."

Nats schedule

Tonight's game

Opponent: New York Mets

Site, time: RFK Stadium, Washington, 7:05

TV/Radio: Ch. 20, 104.1 FM

Starters: Mets' Victor Zambrano (1-2, 5.64) vs. Nationals' Zach Day (1-2, 5.09)

The week ahead

Date Opponent Time

5/1 N.Y. Mets 8:05 p.m.

5/2 at L.A. Dodgers 10:10 p.m.

5/3 at L.A. Dodgers 10:10 p.m.

5/4 at L.A. Dodgers 10:10 p.m.

5/5 Off

5/6 at San Francisco 10:15 p.m.

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