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Former Twin Knoblauch Returns in Style

May 09, 1998| From Associated Press

Chuck Knoblauch helped make sure his return to Minneapolis wouldn't end in another loss, scoring the go-ahead run and making a key defensive play as the New York Yankees beat the Twins, 5-1, Friday night for their eighth straight victory.

The Yankees have won 22 of 24, including nine straight on the road, and have extended their major league-best record to 23-6.

Knoblauch, frustrated by five straight losing seasons with the Twins and having asked to be traded in the off-season, ignored a nightlong chorus of boos from the crowd of 22,612. He came into the game batting a disappointing .241 and was jeered every time he came to the plate or made a play in the field.

But the All-Star second baseman went two for five for his seventh multihit game with the Yankees. He also stole two bases, scored twice and added a run-saving defensive play in the eighth to maintain a 2-1 lead.

Knoblauch, the 1991 AL rookie of the year during Minnesota's last championship season, singled with two out in the seventh. He stole second and scored on Derek Jeter's single off Brad Radke (3-3) for a 2-1 lead.

"I was very calm and relaxed out there," Knoblauch said. "I didn't have to tell myself to tone it down out there. I didn't have to calm myself down emotionally."

Hideki Irabu (2-0) won his second consecutive start with a performance that was nearly as impressive as his outing in Kansas City last Friday. Facing the Twins for the first time in his career, Irabu gave up five hits and one run in seven-plus innings.He gave up one run on two hits in 7 1/3 innings against the Royals.

Seattle 8, Toronto 3--Ken Griffey Jr. hit his 14th homer and scored four runs and David Segui tied a team record with three doubles, leading the Mariners over the Blue Jays at Seattle.

Griffey tied Colorado's Vinny Castilla for the major league lead in home runs. Russ Davis and Edgar Martinez also homered for the Mariners.

Randy Johnson (3-1) won his third straight decision and beat the Blue Jays for the sixth time in a row. Jose Canseco hit a three-run homer, his 10th, off Johnson.

Griffey led off the third inning with a 440-foot shot off Woody Williams (3-2) into the Kingdome's third deck in right field. Griffey went three for three and leads the AL in runs with 33.

Griffey scored on slides at home plate on doubles by Segui in the first and fifth, his run in the fifth breaking a 3-3 tie.

Baltimore 8, Tampa Bay 2--Eric Davis hit his third homer in two games and Harold Baines snapped a seventh-inning tie with a two-run, pinch-hit single to lead the Orioles over the Devil Rays at Tampa, Fla.

Davis, who homered twice in a loss at Cleveland on Wednesday, has five home runs in his last four starts. He led off the seventh against Albie Lopez (0-1) with a drive over the right-field wall to tie the score 2-2.

Baines hit a soft liner off Esteban Yan that bounced over the head of sliding left fielder Rich Butler with the bases loaded to put Baltimore ahead, 4-2. B.J. Surhoff also singled off Yan with the bases loaded, driving in the last two runs of the inning.

Tampa Bay managed only four hits in losing its seventh straight home game. The Devil Rays have dropped 13 of 16 overall.

Boston 14, Kansas City 3--Bret Saberhagen stayed unbeaten and reminded Kansas City fans why they got so upset when he was traded, and Boston had its biggest hit total in eight years as the Red Sox won at Kansas City, Mo.

Saberhagen, who won two Cy Young Awards and a World Series MVP award with Kansas City from 1984-91, improved to 5-0. In his first appearance against the Royals since being traded to the New York Mets after the 1991 season, he gave up seven hits in six innings.

"Kansas City has a special place in my heart," Saberhagen said. "It's a little strange making a left turn [into the visitors' clubhouse] off the elevator.

"Yeah, it's nice to get a win against your old team," he added.

Troy O'Leary hit two home runs and every Boston starter had at least one hit and scored at least one run as the Red Sox got 20 hits, their most since a 20-hit attack against Minnesota on May 19, 1990.

O'Leary hit a three-run homer in the fourth and a solo shot in the eighth. Jim Leyritz also homered and Jose Valentin, Mo Vaughn and Darren Lewis each had three hits for the Red Sox.

Saberhagen, who missed most of the past two seasons after undergoing shoulder surgery in 1995, retired 12 in a row before hitting Jermaine Dye with one out in the fifth.

Texas 6, Cleveland 3--Juan Gonzalez, amid tornado warnings, doubled home the go-ahead run in a three-run eighth inning that sent the Rangers to the victory at Arlington, Texas, and snapped the Indians' six-game winning streak.

Just after Ranger officials asked fans to head for cover because of an approaching storm, Gonzalez brought home the key run.

Spectators were urged to move from open seats when radar detected a storm with tornadic winds and giant hail bearing down on Arlington.

The storm passed to the north of the stadium, enabling the Rangers to snap a four-game losing streak.

Lee Stevens added a solo homer in the inning for the Rangers.

Rusty Greer walked to open the eighth off Jose Mesa (3-1) and scored when Gonzalez doubled for his major league-leading 42nd RBI. Gonzalez then took third on a wild pitch and scored on catcher Pat Borders' throwing error.

With two out, Stevens hit his ninth homer.

Xavier Hernandez (1-0) struck out three in 1 1/3 innings for his first win since Sept. 6, 1996, and John Wetteland pitched the ninth for his eighth save.

David Justice and David Bell homered for the Indians.

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