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Twins beat Cleveland; clinch AL Central title

Posted: Monday, September 16, 2002

CLEVELAND -- The Minnesota Twins, the small-market survivors baseball couldn't eliminate, will be hanging around a little longer than anyone could have imagined.

The Twins, targeted for contraction last November, clinched the AL Central on Sunday with a 5-0 win over the defending champion Cleveland Indians.

''Bud Selig couldn't get rid of us,'' Jacque Jones said. ''The White Sox couldn't get rid of us. The Cleveland Indians couldn't get rid of us. Here we are, and we're staying.''

Kyle Lohse (13-8) pitched six shutout innings as the Twins secured their first playoff appearance since 1991.

''It's been a long haul,'' manager Ron Gardenhire said. ''It started this winter when they tried to kick us out and take away our team. There's been a lot of buildup here, and we're going to let it all out today.''

After doing their part by winning, the Twins had to put their postgame party plans on hold for about 20 minutes as they waited for the final score of Chicago's game in New York.

When the second-place White Sox lost 8-4 at Yankee Stadium in a game called by rain, many of the Twins ran into the trainer's room to fetch champagne bottles that had been on ice since Friday.

Cliff Lee (0-1), who came over in the trade that sent ace Bartolo Colon to the Montreal Expos, lost in his big league debut.

Yankees 8, White Sox 4, 6 innings

NEW YORK -- Alfonso Soriano, Jason Giambi and Bernie Williams homered and New York cut its magic number to five by beating Chicago in a game called in the sixth inning after three rain delays.

Miguel Olivo hit a three-run homer in his first major league at-bat to give the White Sox a 3-0 lead.

New York broke away in the sixth, scoring the go-ahead run on a balk by Mike Porzio (2-1).

Andy Pettitte (11-5) won his third straight start.

Mariners 6, Athletics 3

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Bret Boone and Edgar Martinez each drove in two runs as Seattle finally found some offense to beat Oakland and end a six-game losing streak.

Martinez hit a two-run homer, Mike Cameron added a solo shot and Boone had three hits as the Mariners snapped a 21-inning scoreless drought and stopped Oakland's 12-game home winning streak.

Eric Chavez hit his career-high 33rd home run for Oakland, which dropped a half-game behind first-place Anaheim in the AL West. The Angels played a night game against Texas.

Seattle starter Joel Pineiro (14-6) went six innings, striking out seven. Kazuhiro Sasaki got his 35th save in 41 opportunities as the defending AL West champions moved within eight games of Oakland in the wild-card race.

Aaron Harang (5-4) lost in relief.

Orioles 8, Red Sox 3

BOSTON -- Tony Batista set a Baltimore record for homers by a third baseman, and Luis Lopez added a two-run shot to beat Boston.

Batista's two-run homer was his 29th as a third baseman this season, eclipsing Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson's record of 28 set in 1964.

The Orioles won for just the third time in 22 games and pushed the Red Sox closer to elimination from postseason play.

Jason Johnson (5-13) won for only the second time in his last nine decisions.

John Burkett (11-8) lasted only 3 2-3 innings, giving up six runs and seven hits.

Devil Rays 7, Blue Jays 4

TORONTO -- Joe Kennedy allowed just three hits in seven innings as Tampa Bay ended a six-game skid with a victory over Toronto.

Eric Hinske hit his 23rd home run for the Blue Jays, who saw their season-high six-game winning streak come to an end.

Randy Winn drove in two runs for the Devil Rays, who have won just two of their last 13 games. Kennedy (8-11) got his first win since July 4, a span of seven starts.

Esteban Yan earned his 18th save in 26 chances.

Toronto starter Esteban Loaiza (8-9) allowed seven runs on 12 hits in 5 2-3 innings.

Royals 9, Tigers 3

DETROIT -- Joe Randa had three hits and Dee Brown homered as Kansas City beat Detroit.

Runelvys Hernandez (4-4) came within two outs of his first complete game, allowing three runs on seven hits.

Before the game, the Tigers honored longtime broadcaster Ernie Harwell, who is retiring after 55 years as a major league announcer, 42 with the Tigers.

A statue of Harwell was unveiled inside the entrance to Comerica Park.

It was the sixth loss in seven games for the Tigers, who have dropped 21 of their last 25.

Jason Beverlin (0-1), making his first major league start, lasted just 2 2-3 innings.

Angels 13, Rangers 4

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Troy Glaus hit three homers as Anaheim took sole possession of first place in the AL West for the first time this season and set a club record with its 94th win by beating Texas.

The Angels' 16th victory in 17 games -- coupled with Oakland's loss to Seattle -- gave them a one-game lead over the Athletics heading into Monday's opener of a four-game series at Oakland.

Anaheim's magic number for clinching a playoff spot is six. It would be the franchise's first postseason berth in 16 years.

Glaus hit a solo homer off Kenny Rogers (13-8) in the fifth inning, a two-run shot off Jay Powell in the seventh and a three-run drive against Juan Alvarez in the eighth for his first career three-homer game.

Ramon Ortiz (14-9) won his fifth straight decision, improving to 9-1 career against Texas.



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