CINCINNATI -- Only one major league team went through last season without hitting a grand slam -- the Milwaukee Brewers.
Think that's bad? Bill Hall can top it easily. He'd never hit a grand slam in his entire career, until he finally ended the Brewers' bases-loaded futility Monday night with a game-turning swing.
Hall broke out of a slump with his first career slam, a seventh-inning shot that powered the Brewers to a 10-6 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.
Hall was in a 1-for-22 rut when he connected off reliever Todd Coffey, the Brewers' first grand slam since 2005.
"I didn't know that," Hall said. "I just know it was the first grand slam of my life. I'd never hit one. I've had a few opportunities, but never came through. It's pretty special."
It was an appropriate place for the breakthrough homer. Milwaukee hadn't hit a grand slam since J.J. Hardy connected off reliever Chris Booker in Cincinnati during a 14-5 victory on Sept. 7, 2005. That game featured the same two starting pitchers.
Rickie Weeks hit a solo homer off Eric Milton (0-2) and slumping Corey Hart doubled home two more runs, helping Milwaukee get its fourth victory in five games. The 10 runs were a season high for Milwaukee.
No one was more relieved than Hall, who is hitting only .179 and hadn't driven in a run since opening day.
"I felt this could be a good place for him to get ignited," said left-hander Chris Capuano (2-0), who gave up four hits in 5 2/3 innings.
The Reds had scored only one run in their last 27 innings when they broke out in the sixth with the help of Hardy's error at shortstop. Edwin Encarnacion's two-run single completed a rally and trimmed the lead to 4-3, with all the runs unearned because of the error.
Hall then broke the game open with an at-bat that teased him right up to the final swing. The Brewers loaded the bases with none out against Coffey, who hit two of the first three batters with pitches.
"Todd Coffey is very, very reliable," Reds manager Jerry Narron said. "The last thing in the world you would expect is for him to hit two of the first three batters he faced."
During the decisive at-bat, Hall hit two balls that landed just foul down the first-base line - one coming down a few inches on the wrong side of the line. For a player in a slump, it was a bad omen.
"Just foul," he said, recalling his disappointment. "I've been doing a lot of that lately. I've hit a couple balls lately that just haven't fallen in for me, especially in key situations."
Hall fouled off a two-strike pitch to keep the at-bat going, then took a pitch a few inches off the outside corner to run the count full. Coffey threw a fastball that went right down the middle, the perfect pitch to end that grand slam drought.
"There's no excuse to it," Coffey said. "It's my fault tonight."
Pinch-hitter Josh Hamilton hit a two-run homer in the ninth off Brewers reliever Elmer Dessens. Hamilton, back in baseball after overcoming drug addiction, has three homers and seven RBI in 18 at-bats this season.
Temperatures finally approached normal at Great American Ball Park, where it was in the 30s for the first pitch of the four previous games. It was a seasonable 58 degrees when Milton threw the first of his 99 pitches -- high and outside.
Milton opened the season on the disabled list because of back spasms, and wound up as the No. 5 starter when he returned. He was hit hard in his first start of the season, a 6-3 loss to Pittsburgh on April 8, and went seven days without pitching before his start on Monday.
The left-hander gave up three runs, including an unearned run that scored on Ken Griffey Jr.'s error in right field.
|Bill Hall breaks out of a slump with his first career grand slam to turn the game in Milwaukee's favor. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Rickie Weeks, 2B||5||2||1||1||0||1||2||.261|
|J.J. Hardy, SS||6||1||1||0||0||2||2||.277|
|Prince Fielder, 1B||3||2||2||0||0||0||0||.319|
|Bill Hall, CF||4||2||1||4||1||0||1||.179|
|Johnny Estrada, C||5||1||1||0||0||1||1||.279|
|Kevin Mench, LF||5||2||2||0||0||0||4||.300|
|Corey Hart, RF||3||0||1||2||2||1||0||.194|
|Tony Graffanino, 3B||4||0||0||0||1||1||4||.217|
|Chris Capuano, P||3||0||0||0||0||3||2||.143|
|Greg Aquino, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Tony Gwynn, PH||1||0||1||1||0||0||0||.400|
|Matt Wise, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Brian Shouse, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|b- Gabe Gross, PH||1||0||1||1||0||0||0||.308|
|Elmer Dessens, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-singled for Aquino in the 7th|
|b-doubled for Shouse in the 9th|
|2B - Prince Fielder (5, Milton), Johnny Estrada (4, Santos), Kevin Mench (2, Saarloos), Corey Hart (2, Santos), Gabe Gross (1, Saarloos)|
|HR - Rickie Weeks (4, Milton), Bill Hall (2, Coffey)|
|RBI - Rickie Weeks (6), Bill Hall 4 (6), Corey Hart 2 (5), Tony Gwynn (1), Gabe Gross (4)|
|2-OUT RBI - Corey Hart 2 (2), Tony Gwynn (1), Gabe Gross (1)|
|Team LOB - 10|
|E - J.J. Hardy (1, Misplayed grounder)|
|Chris Capuano (W,2-0)||5.2||4||3||0||1||5||0||2.81|
|Greg Aquino (H,2)||0.1||1||0||0||0||0||0||0.00|
|Pitches-Strikes - Chris Capuano 94-60, Greg Aquino 3-3, Matt Wise 16-10, Brian Shouse 19-11, Elmer Dessens 23-14|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chris Capuano 8-5, Matt Wise 2-1, Brian Shouse 1-2, Elmer Dessens 2-0|
|Batters Faced - Chris Capuano 23, Greg Aquino 2, Matt Wise 4, Brian Shouse 5, Elmer Dessens 6|
|Ryan Freel, CF||5||1||1||0||0||1||0||.238|
|Brandon Phillips, 2B||5||1||2||0||0||0||1||.204|
|Adam Dunn, LF||5||1||3||0||0||1||1||.354|
|Jeff Conine, 1B||3||0||0||0||0||0||2||.296|
|Scott Hatteberg, 1B||2||1||1||0||0||1||1||.240|
|Ken Griffey Jr., RF||4||0||1||1||0||0||3||.262|
|Edwin Encarnacion, 3B||4||0||1||2||0||1||2||.186|
|Juan Castro, SS||2||0||0||0||1||0||1||.118|
|Jon Coutlangus, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Chad Moeller, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.167|
|Kirk Saarloos, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|David Ross, C||4||1||1||0||0||1||1||.107|
|Eric Milton, P||2||0||0||0||0||1||0||.000|
|Victor Santos, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Todd Coffey, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Enrique Cruz, SS||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|b- Josh Hamilton, PH||1||1||1||2||0||0||0||.278|
|a-lined out for Coutlangus in the 8th|
|b-homered for Cruz in the 9th|
|2B - Adam Dunn (2, Capuano), Ken Griffey Jr. (2, Shouse)|
|HR - Josh Hamilton (3, Dessens)|
|RBI - Ken Griffey Jr. (4), Edwin Encarnacion 2 (5), Josh Hamilton 2 (7)|
|2-OUT RBI - Edwin Encarnacion 2 (3)|
|Team LOB - 7|
|DP - Saarloos-B. Phillips-Hatteberg|
|PB - David Ross (1)|
|E - Enrique Cruz (1, Misplayed grounder), Edwin Encarnacion (1, Misplayed grounder), Ken Griffey Jr. (2, Dropped fly)|
|Eric Milton (L,0-2)||5||3||3||2||2||4||1||5.06|
|IBB - Graffanino by Victor Santos|
|HBP - Weeks (by Todd Coffey), Fielder (by Todd Coffey), Fielder (by Jon Coutlangus)|
|WP - Eric Milton (1)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Eric Milton 99-63, Victor Santos 23-12, Todd Coffey 26-16, Jon Coutlangus 28-20, Kirk Saarloos 23-16|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Eric Milton 2-10, Victor Santos 1-1, Jon Coutlangus 2-2, Kirk Saarloos 2-0|
|Batters Faced - Eric Milton 21, Victor Santos 6, Todd Coffey 6, Jon Coutlangus 8, Kirk Saarloos 6|
|Attendance - 12521|
|Game Time - 3:16|
|Temperature - 58|
|Umpires - Home - Bruce Dreckman, First Base - Gary Darling, Second Base - Larry Poncino, Third Base - Jerry Meals|