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AMERICAN LEAGUE ROUNDUP : A’s Try to Stay Calm as Twins Get Hot

It was just a week ago that the Minnesota Twins, after two months atop the American League West, were in danger of falling apart.

They held a one-game lead over the Chicago White Sox, and the Oakland Athletics were closing in.

With help from the New York Yankees, the Twins have restored a semblance of order to the division.

For the second night in a row at Minneapolis, the Twins came from behind to beat the Athletics. The Twins trailed, 4-1, Saturday after Jose Canseco hit his 34th home run, but charged back in a 12-4 romp.

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It was the sixth loss in a row for Oakland, whose hopes for a fourth consecutive division title are growing dimmer. The A’s trail the Twins by six games with 44 to play. The White Sox, again beaten by the Yankees, have fallen 3 1/2 games behind the Twins.

Jack Morris survived a shaky start to improve his record to 15-9 with his eighth complete game.

Cy Young Award winner Bob Welch, who had 20 victories by this time last season, couldn’t hold the early lead and was knocked out in the sixth inning after giving up 11 hits and nine runs. Welch, 27-6 last season, is 10-8 with an earned-run average of 4.13.

Chuck Knoblauch, who had three hits Friday night when the Twins scored twice in the ninth to tie the game and then won in the 12th, got four more hits to lead the 16-hit attack.

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Canseco’s third homer in two games lifted him into a tie with Detroit’s Cecil Fielder for the major league lead.

It is the first time the A’s have lost six in a row since 1986.

“I think we’re dealing with this just fine,” Canseco said. “No one is panicking. No one is falling apart. There are many more games to play.”

Manager Tony La Russa says today’s game is a big one.

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“We have to win tomorrow,” he said Saturday. “If we would’ve won today, we’d still have to win tomorrow. We need a spurt to get back into the race.”

Brian Harper drove in four runs and Shane Mack three before 52,080, the 10th-largest crowd in club history.

“Jack (Morris) had good stuff even in the first inning,” Harper said. “I knew we just had to get a few runs.”

Toronto 7, Detroit 5--Their lead in the AL East in jeopardy, the Blue Jays used home runs by Candy Maldonado and John Olerud to win before 46,634 fans at Detroit, restoring their lead to two games.

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There were some anxious moments before Tom Henke pitched a scoreless ninth inning to gain his 27th save.

The Blue Jays held leads of 4-0 and 6-2, but Lou Whitaker hit a three-run home run in the sixth inning to cut the lead to 6-5.

Eleven Tigers walked, but Detroit left the bases loaded in the first and fourth innings.

New York 4, Chicago 2--Don Mattingly got his hair clipped a bit before the game, then doubled home the go-ahead run in the fifth inning as the Yankees beat the White Sox for the second game in a row.

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Wade Taylor (6-7) gave up seven hits and two runs in six innings to end his three-game losing streak. Jack McDowell (14-7) went the distance but couldn’t prevent the White Sox from losing their third consecutive game.

“The haircut incident is over,” Mattingly said after bullpen catcher Carl Taylor cut about an inch off the back. “It’s never been that much of a deal.”

Texas 2, Cleveland 0--Jose Guzman pitched a strong eight innings at Cleveland, and Brian Downing and Kevin Reimer hit home runs for the Rangers.

Guzman (8-5) won for the fourth time in five decisions, allowing six hits and striking out seven.

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Downing was in a one-for-19 slump before he homered leading off the fourth inning.

Kansas City 4, Boston 3--Warren Cromartie’s first major league home run in eight years was a dramatic one in Boston.

Cromartie, who spent six years in Japan, hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning to give the Royals the victory.

Milwaukee 7, Baltimore 6--The Brewers gave Jaime Navarro (11-9) a 7-0 lead at Milwaukee, then held off the Orioles. Navarro, 6-0 in his career against the Orioles, left during a five-run eighth inning when the defense collapsed. He gave up five runs, but all were unearned.

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B.J. Surhoff homered and drove in three runs for the Brewers.


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