Twins 9, Mariners 5

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MINNEAPOLIS – The Minnesota Twins turned the majors’ second triple play in 13 days to end a serious threat in the eighth inning, and Michael Cuddyer and light-hitting shortstop Juan Castro homered during a 9-5 victory over the Seattle Mariners.

Cuddyer’s two-run shot in the third off Jamie Moyer (2-5) helped erase a 4-1 deficit and give rookie Boof Bonser his first career win.

Raul Ibanez had a home run and three RBIs for the Mariners, who lost their third game in a row and continued to struggle to cash in on opportunities for big innings.

With Seattle trailing 8-4 to start the eighth inning, Richie Sexson doubled, Carl Everett walked and Adrian Beltre singled to load the bases with no outs against Jesse Crain.

Juan Rincon entered the game to face Kenji Johjima, who hit a grounder to second base on the first pitch. Luis Castillo scooped up the ball and chased down Beltre to tag him out, then threw to first to get Johjima.

First baseman Justin Morneau noticed Everett leaning the wrong way off third and fired a strike to Tony Batista at the bag. Batista tagged out Everett to complete the triple play and close the inning with the Twins leading 8-5. Sexson scored from third on the play.

It was the Twins’ first triple play since July 17, 1990, at Boston, the night they turned two triple plays in one game, the only time in history that has been accomplished.

The Metrodome has been home to both triple plays this season. The White Sox turned one in a 9-7 victory over the Twins on May 14.

The Mariners have loaded the bases with nobody out three times in the first two games of this series, but have managed just one run.

The first came in the fifth inning on Friday night, but Francisco Liriano struck out Yuniesky Betancourt before getting a double play to end the inning.

Manager Mike Hargrove then watched his team load the bases to start the game on Saturday. But Bonser (1-0) struck out Sexson, Everett and Beltre to get out of the inning unscathed.

After each strikeout, the Metrodome’s big screen showed the hitter swinging, followed by a cartoonish “BOOF!” spinning onto the picture, a play on the fight scenes from the old “Batman” television series.

Then came the triple play in the eighth, which doomed the Mariners to their third straight loss and ninth in 11 games at the Metrodome.

Bonser gave up four runs and eight hits in five innings, but needed 97 pitches in his second career start.

The Mariners scored all four of their runs in the second on a broken-bat single by Willie Bloomquist and Ibanez’s 460-foot home run that hit off the facing of the second deck for a 4-1 lead.

Moyer, who entered the game 7-0 in games at the Metrodome for the Mariners, gave up eight runs – seven earned – and 11 hits in six-plus innings.

The Twins reclaimed the lead with three runs in the third on a double by Hunter and Cuddyer’s two-run homer that made it 5-4.

Castro’s first homer in 164 at-bats, dating to last Sept. 6, made it 6-4 in the sixth.

Notes: Minnesota Vikings Adam Goldberg and Jermaine Wiggins participated in a home run derby before the game. Goldberg hit two, and Wiggins came up empty in a contest won by Twins mascot T.C. the bear. … Seattle’s Ichiro Suzuki made several impressive plays in right, including a leaping grab of a line drive by Castro in the fourth. … Ichiro went 1-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts. He is hitting .261 in his career at the Metrodome, the lowest among parks where he has at least 15 at-bats.

AP-ES-05-27-06 2219EDT


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