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A WACKY NIGHT IN BASEBALL : Twins Pull Off 2 Triple Plays--and Lose, 1-0

The Minnesota Twins became the first team in major league history to turn two triple plays in one game Monday night at Boston.

It didn’t even help the Twins win. An unearned run in the fifth inning gave the Red Sox a 1-0 victory.

The triple plays, in the fourth and eighth innings, came on almost identical plays, sharp grounders to third baseman Gary Gaetti near the bag.

Tom Bolton (3-0) held the Twins to five hits in eight innings and Jeff Reardon came on after Bolton walked the leadoff man in the ninth to get his 16th save.

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The Twins’ Scott Erickson pitched a perfect three innings before loading the bases on a walk, a double and another walk. Tom Brunansky hit the grounder, Gaetti grabbed the ball, stepped on third, threw to second baseman Al Newman for the second out and Newman’s throw to first baseman Kent Hrbek beat Brunansky.

There were runners on first and second in the eighth when Jody Reed hit the grounder off relief pitcher John Candelaria to Gaetti, who once again went around the horn for the three outs.

Gaetti has started five double plays in his career.

Gaetti said he told Wade Boggs, the runner on third in the fourth inning, to get ready for a triple play.

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“He just looked at me and spit,” Gaetti said. “I think he rolled his eyes, too.”

The Red Sox, in first place in the East by a half-game over Toronto, could only joke about it afterward.

“Well, (Manager Joe Morgan) always says we have to stay away from the double plays,” pitcher Dennis Lamp said. “We did.”

Newman said he was still nervous about it.

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“That’s unbelievable,” he said. “I just figured we were going to win the ballgame after the second one.”

The record for triple plays by a team in a season is three. It has been accomplished six times. Oakland and Boston did it most recently, in 1979.

Erickson (1-2) had the Red Sox, who lost eight of their previous nine games, hitting the ball on the ground. In the fifth, though, Mike Greenwell’s grounder went through shortstop Greg Gagne’s legs for an error.

Tony Pena singled and Greenwell took third on a forceout at second. Rookie shortstop Tim Naehring singled to score Greenwell for his first major league run batted in.

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Chicago 7, Detroit 3--The White Sox’s chances of cutting Oakland’s lead in the West didn’t look too good in the first inning at Detroit.

The Tigers scored three runs and had Melido Perez within a pitch of coming out of the game.

Perez (9-7), who pitched a six-inning no-hitter against New York last Thursday, gave up hits to the first three batters he faced. But he gave up only one hit in the next six innings.

Jack Morris (8-11) pitched four hitless innings, but lost it in the fifth. Dan Pasqua hit a two-run homer in the sixth to put the White Sox in front and they went on to win for the 12th time in their last 13 road games.

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“We already knew the Athletics had lost,” Manager Jeff Torborg of the White Sox said. “I was proud of the way Melido hung in there and the way we came back. It was a big victory.”

Cleveland 4, Oakland 2--Greg Swindell (5-5) won for the first time in eight starts on the road, but he wasn’t bragging about it.

Swindell, facing a crippled Oakland lineup, gave up six hits, and one earned run in 6 2/3 innings. Mark McGwire hit his 23rd home run.

Rickey Henderson and Carney Lansford, the batters at the top of the Athletics’ lineup, and second baseman Willie Randolph were out of action because of injuries.

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“You are more at ease with Henderson and Lansford out,” Swindell said, “but it was nice to win one on the road.”

McGwire was in a five for 41 slump. His home run, after Jose Canseco reached when Dion James dropped his long fly, made the score 2-2 in the fourth.

Cory Snyder doubled in the seventh and scored the go-ahead run on Jerry Browne’s sacrifice fly.

None of the three injured Oakland players are expected to play in today’s doubleheader.

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“It’s of concern,” Manager Tony La Russa said. “But I’m proud of the way this club has overcome adversity.”

Baltimore 5, Texas 3--After a shaky start, Pete Harnisch retired 22 consecutive batters at Baltimore, and the Orioles handed the Rangers their third consecutive loss.

Harnisch (8-5) gave up a run in the first, but was perfect thereafter until Geno Petralli opened the ninth with a single. Julio Franco doubled with two out and Gregg Olson relieved, giving up a two-run single to Rafael Palmeiro before getting his 20th save.

Seattle 7, Toronto 5--Alvin Davis hit a grand slam in the sixth inning at Seattle and scored what proved to be the winning run in the eighth inning.

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Davis, on first, scored on Edgar Martinez’s double to break a 5-5 tie and knock the Blue Jays out of first place in the East.


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