Twins Make the Most of Their Chances

Monday, September 18th 2006, 5:00 am
By: News On 6

The Minnesota Twins once again made the most of their chances. Twice as much, really.

Always good with their gloves, the Twins turned 5 double plays for the first time in more than a decade, winning at Cleveland 6-1 Sunday and edging even closer in the AL Central race.

Down by 12 games right after the All-Star break, the Twins have gone 41-21 to close within a game of the slumping Detroit Tigers.

Scott Baker (5-8) pitched 6 strong innings and the Twins backed him with slick fielding.

``He made a lot of good pitches to get double plays,'' Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. ``That's the one thing we've been preaching to him. If you pitch to contact, we'll catch it. We're good at that. We made a lot of good plays in the infield.''

The last time the Twins made 5 double plays in a game was June 3, 1995, against Texas.

While moving up on the Tigers, Minnesota moved 4 games ahead of Chicago in the wild card race. Detroit lost to Baltimore 12-8 in 10 innings and Chicago fell to Oakland 5-4.

In other AL games, Boston swept a doubleheader from New York 6-3 and 5-4, Texas beat Los Angeles 8-1, Toronto topped Tampa Bay 5-3 and Seattle defeated Kansas City 10-5.

Torii Hunter's 2 run single in the 3rd against Paul Byrd (9-8) put the Twins ahead for good.

Matt Guerrier pitched the final 3 innings for his first career save. He ended this one in fitting fashion, getting Kevin Kouzmanoff to ground into a double play.

The Twins are 3-1 on their final trip of the season, which concludes with 3 games each at Boston and Baltimore. After an off day, Minnesota plays at Fenway Park on Tuesday night.

``We know what's at hand,'' Gardenhire said. ``If you can't get ready to play in Boston, you can't play anywhere. It's a great atmosphere.''

Red Sox 6, Yankees 3, 1st Game; Red Sox 5, Yankees 4, 2nd Game

Boston beat the New York Yankees twice in one day for the first time in 30 years, rallying on Mark Loretta's 9th inning sacrifice fly.

In the opener of the teams' second straight day night doubleheader, David Ortiz's league leading 49th homer and Kevin Youkilis' 3 run double in the 7th boosted Boston.

Boston, which overcame a 4-2, 8th inning deficit in the nightcap, had not defeated the Yankees twice in one day since July 31, 1976, at Fenway Park, and hadn't accomplished the feat at Yankee Stadium since July 4, 1973.

While beating the Yankees 3-4 in a 34 1/2-hour span, the situation remains bleak for the Red Sox.

New York was in position to clinch its 9th straight division title with a sweep Sunday combined with a Blue Jays loss to the Devil Rays. But even before the Red Sox got the final out of the opener, Toronto won 5-3.

Orioles 12, Tigers 8, 10 innings

At Detroit, Miguel Tejada's go ahead single keyed a 4 run 10th inning as Baltimore stopped Detroit.

Since leading the division by 10 games after play on August 7, the Tigers have lost 24-37. Detroit starts a 3 game series at Chicago on Monday night.

Sean Casey hit a tying, 2 run homer for the Tigers in the 8th. But Chris Ray (2-3) pitched 2 1-3 innings and got the win after blowing his 5th save in 36 chances, while Jason Grilli (2-3) took the loss.

After the game, Tigers 2nd baseman Placido Polanco said he was out for the season. He was hitting .294 with 44 RBIs when he separated his left shoulder in mid-August.

Athletics 5, White Sox 4

At Oakland, Frank Thomas hit another home run against his former team to lead the AL West leading Athletics.

Thomas connected for his 486th career homer, a 3 run shot. He homered twice and drove in 7 runs in the final 2 games of Oakland's 3 game sweep of the defending World Series champions.

Thomas is batting .344 with a major league leading 10 homers and 26 RBIs this month.

After Chicago took an early 2-0 lead against Joe Blanton (16-11), Thomas connected against Jose Contreras (13-8). Justin Duchscherer pitched a perfect 9th for his 9th save.

Blue Jays 5, Devil Rays 3

At Toronto, Aaron Hill hit a tiebreaking home run in the 8th inning that lifted the Blue Jays over Tampa Bay.

The Devil Rays lost their 7th in a row. They were winless on a 6 game trip and fell to 2-28 on the road since July 1.

Hill's 2 run homer came off Shawn Camp (7-4) and gave Toronto its 4th straight victory. Hill hit a 10th inning home run to win Friday night's game.

Justin Speier (2-0) won and B.J. Ryan worked the 9th for his 33rd save in 37 chances.

Rangers 8, Angels 1

At Texas, Vicente Padilla took a shutout into the 8th inning and the Rangers defeated Los Angeles.

A month ago in his previous start against the Angels, Padilla hit two batters and nearly plunked a third, touching off all sorts of brawls and suspensions. This time, Padilla (14-9) kept his control and the teams kept their poise.

Gary Matthews Jr. homered for Texas. Ervin Santana (14-8) took the loss.

Mariners 10, Royals 5

At Kansas City, Chris Snelling and Kenji Johjima homered as Seattle beat the Royals.

Gil Meche (11-8) won his second straight start after going 9 games without a victory. Jimmy Gobble (3-6) was the losing pitcher.