Grand slam from Millar sinks Cards

Wednesday, March 27, 2002

JUPITER, Fla. -- Kevin Millar went 4-for-5 with a grand slam to lead the Marlins to a 12-4 victory over the Cardinals on Tuesday.

Millar homered off Cardinals starter Bud Smith in the second inning following singles by Luis Castillo and Preston Wilson and a walk to Mike Lowell.

Millar will likely be the Marlins' starter in right field this season because his bat has made it difficult for Marlins manager Jeff Torborg to leave him on the bench. Millar hit .314 with 20 homers and 85 RBIs last season. He is hitting .295 with three homers and 16 RBIs this spring.

"I still go out here every day knowing that I've got to hit," Millar said. "It's something I thrive on."

The grand slam was just the second home run allowed by Smith this spring, who as a rookie pitched a no-hitter against San Diego last September. He is 3-2 in five spring starts, losing his last two decisions. Overall, Smith allowed 10 hits and seven runs in 2 2-3 innings, walking one and hitting a batter.

The Cardinals scored four runs off Ryan Dempster in the sixth inning. J.D. Drew hit an RBI triple, Albert Pujols had a run-scoring single and Jim Edmonds hit a two-run homer.

Also Tuesday, Marlins catcher Charles Johnson returned to limited action, catching and hitting for the first time in three weeks. But the two-time All-Star likely won't be ready for the season opener.

Johnson sprained his left thumb March 5 when he ran into Montreal first baseman Joe Vitiello.

Around the majors

  • LOCKOUT: Baseball owners pledged not to lock out players through the 2002 World Series. Baseball commissioner Bud Selig said for months that a lockout was not "on my radar screen," but had refused to rule one out.

    Selig also promised not to unilaterally implement new terms and conditions of employment for players through the end of the World Series, which is of little significance because players already have signed their 2002 contracts.

  • CUBS: Moises Alou played for the first time in more than a week, going 2-for-3 with an RBI in Chicago's 13-11 loss to Oakland in Mesa, Ariz. Alou had been sidelined for much of the spring with a strained muscle on his left side.

    "I'm feeling OK," he said. "I think I'm going to be all right."

  • RANGERS: John Rocker allowed four runs in one inning during an 11-8 loss to the Red Sox after Jeff Zimmerman was placed on the 15-day disabled list with tendinitis in his right elbow.

    Zimmerman, who hasn't pitched since March 6, is expected to miss at least one month.

    -- From wire reports

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