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Soriano stays put; Nats send Giants to eighth straight loss

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Alfonso Soriano reminded the Nationals why
they should be happy to still have him around.

He hit a two-run double in the five-run fourth inning of
Washington's 10-7 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Monday
night, and also singled twice, scored two runs and stole his 27th
base.

All of this to help Washington end a three-game losing streak
only hours after Soriano learned he would not be dealt before the
non-waiver trading deadline as everyone expected.

"Just to have him in our corner is going to help our team, help
our lineup," center fielder Ryan Church said. "We know every day
he's prepared and we know he's going to come through in big
situations. He did it again tonight. You don't want him on the
other team."

The Nationals batted around in the fourth, tagging Giants
starter Noah Lowry for five hits and Felipe Lopez's sacrifice fly.
They added four in the eighth, highlighted by Austin Kearns'
three-run double.

Omar Vizquel hit two RBI triples and singled twice and Randy Winn had a sacrifice fly, three hits and scored three runs for
slumping San Francisco, which lost its eighth straight game
following a season-best five-game winning streak. The Giants went
winless in their road trip through Washington and Pittsburgh and
lost to San Diego in the final game of their previous homestand.

This is the club's longest skid since also dropping eight in a
row from May 26-June 4 last year. San Francisco has lost the eight
games by a total of 13 runs.

"We have to get well in a hurry or we're going to be a sinking
ship," Giants general manager Brian Sabean said.

Asked whether he had a response to Sabean's comments, manager
Felipe Alou said: "He said it, right? I'm not going to comment on
it. I believe that's enough."

Before the game, Soriano was greeted by cheers and chants of
"Soriano! Soriano!" when he made his way into the visitor's
clubhouse on a makeshift red carpet -- a pathway constructed of
white towels taped to the floor.

"I'm happy," said Soriano, who got word from Nationals special
assistant Jose Rijo about 20 minutes before the deadline. "It will
be more easy to focus on playing every time because it passed. I
was very excited they wanted to keep me here. ...

"I love my teammates, too. I think they were happy to see me
walk in here."

From his locker hung streamers in team colors, a special chair
replaced the standard clubhouse offering, and a giant fruit basket
and bottle of champagne waited at his feet. "Vive Soriano!" --
"Soriano Lives!" read one sign. "We love you!" stated another.

"He means as much to this team in the clubhouse as he does on
the field," Kearns said.

Pedro Astacio (2-1) pitched six strong innings in his sixth
start of the year, allowing 10 hits and four runs with two
strikeouts and a walk. Chad Cordero recorded the final four outs
for his 18th save in 21 chances.

Lopez finished with a double and single, the sacrifice fly and
two runs scored and Church hit two RBI doubles as the Nationals
went 14-11 in July for their first winning month since June 2005
(20-6).

"It's always good to see the offense come back," Nationals
manager Frank Robinson said. "We needed every run we got."

After Lowry's one-out single in the second, Astacio retired the
next nine Giants before Winn singled in the fifth. Vizquel followed
with a triple, then scored on Ray Durham's single. Durham drove in
another run in the eighth.

Barry Bonds went 0-for-4 with a walk and flied out to deep
center to end the eighth with two runners on.

Lowry (5-7), facing Washington in consecutive starts after
getting a no-decision last Wednesday, allowed six runs and eight
hits in five innings.

"Obviously I wanted to go out there today and get the team out
of this funk," Lowry said. "I let our guys down."

Relievers Brian Wilson and Steve Kline had their problems in the
eighth, too.

"We're 4½ games out and this is the worst baseball we've played
all year," Kline said. "Everybody here wants to win. Nobody wants
to pack it in. You can see tempers are flaring and guys are getting
antsy."

Nationals catcher Robert Fick left the game in the seventh with
left rib cartilage separation and was scheduled for an MRI on
Tuesday.

San Francisco right fielder Moises Alou was ejected by plate
umpire Brian Gorman after he struck out looking to end the third
inning. He tossed his bat all the way to the Giants' dugout, then
threw down his batting helmet in disgust. Gorman tossed Alou, who
then yelled at the umpire for several moments before leaving.

Game notes
Vizquel had his first two-triple game since Aug. 12, 2001,
for Cleveland at Texas. ... RHP Ryan Wagner made his Nationals
debut after being recalled from Triple-A New Orleans. ...
Washington drew seven walks and had 116 walks in July, its most
free passes in a month since the 2002 Montreal Expos drew 111 walks
that July. ... The Giants' Jose Vizcaino played in his 1,800th
game.