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McGwire Blasts Two Homers


It was Mark McGwire Day on Saturday, both before and during the game.

Big Mac hit two solo home runs to tie Sammy Sosa for the spring training lead with seven as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Montreal Expos 7-4.

They were McGwire's first homers since hitting two last Sunday at Vero Beach. Each came with two outs, off Expos' starter Mike Thurman in the first and Roberto Duran in the fifth.

"I think he's in full-season form," said Cardinals manager Tony La Russa. "His approach is so consistent, mentally and physically he's always the same."

McGwire struck out in his only other at-bat, with a runner on base in the third. McGwire is batting .481 in 11 games (13-for-27) and has 13 RBIs.

Before the game, Palm Beach County commissioner Karen Marcus and Jupiter Mayor Karen Golanka presented a framed proclamation to McGwire in recognizing Mark McGwire Day.

Royals 7, Marlins 3

VIERA, Fla. -- Kevin Appier and Alex Fernandez each showed off their surgically-repaired shoulders on the way to recovery Saturday.

Appier allowed two hits and one unearned run in four innings as the Kansas City Royals beat the Florida Marlins 7-3.

Appier, auditioning for a possible trade to a contender, struck out five in his strongest outing of the spring. The right-hander missed almost all of last season with the shoulder injury.

Fernandez, who missed the entire 1998 season, also showed that his shoulder is finally healthy. He allowed two hits and one run in five innings for Florida.

Red Sox 2, Pirates 1

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Pedro Martinez pitched six shutout innings and Andy Abad delivered an RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning Saturday to give the Boston Red Sox a 2-1 win against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Martinez made his fourth start of the spring and struck out five while giving up five hits. He did not allow a runner past second. With two out in the second Martinez hit Al Martin with a pitch and the two had words as the teams left the field after the inning.

"I felt fine and was surprised that Martin reacted as strongly as he did," said Martinez. "He asked me why I hit him and I told him I didn't do it intentionally. It's part of baseball."

Braves 7, Mets 2

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Andruw Jones drove in three runs with a bases-loaded walk and two-run single as the Atlanta Braves beat the New York Mets 7-2 Saturday night.

Braves starter Bruce Chen allowed one un on three hits in five innings. He walked two and struck out two. He also started a four-run second inning with a walk.

Hideo Nomo went four innings, giving up six runs on eight hits with five walks and four strikeouts.

Orioles 3, Dodgers 2

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- An eighth-inning error by outfielder Scott Livingstone enabled the go-ahead run to score as the Baltimore Orioles rallied to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 Saturday.

The Dodgers lost Warren Newson for at least two weeks with a pulled hamstring. Newson, who is competing for a backup spot in the outfield, hurt himself while running out a double-play grounder in the first inning.

Los Angeles led 2-1 in the eighth before the Orioles rallied against Doug Bochtler. With runners on first and second and two out, Julio Vinas lined an RBI single to right. After the ball bounced past Livingstone, pinch-runner Ricky Otero scored from first base.

Rangers 5, Reds 4

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Juan Gonzalez hit a three-run homer to lead the Texas Rangers to a 5-4 victory against the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday.

Only faulty equipment could slow down Juan Gonzalez.>
Only faulty equipment could slow down Juan Gonzalez. (AP)

Gonzalez's second homer of the spring - a 400-foot shot - capped a four-run inning that gave the Rangers a 5-2 lead. Rusty Greer added three hits and an RBI for Texas.

Rick Helling started for the Rangers and worked five innings in his longest outing this spring. The right-hander allowed seven hits and two runs, both in the first inning.

Astros 5, Tigers 1

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Tim Bogar, Carl Everett and Jack Howell homered Saturday, powering the Houston Astros to a 5-1 victory against a split squad of Detroit Tigers.

Chris Holt, who did not pitch at all for the Astros last season after undergoing shoulder surgery, gave up the lone Detroit run on four hits over the first five innings.

Dean Crow relieved Holt and had three strikeouts in two hitless innings for the win. Billy Wagner struck out the side in the eighth for Houston.

Blue Jays 7, Phillies (ss) 1

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Alex Gonzalez's two-run double highlighted a six-run fifth, as the Toronto Blue Jays beat the split-squad Philadelphia Phillies 7-1 Saturday.

Joey Hamilton pitched five innings, allowing one run on six hits to get the win for Toronto. Nerio Rodriguez, Eric Ludwick and Tom Davey held the Phillies hitless over the final four innings.

Ryan Nye started and tossed four innings of one hit, shutout ball for the Phillies. Loser Joel Bennett gave up all six runs in the fifth as Toronto sent 11 batters to the plate.

Devil Rays 3, Phillies (ss) 2

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Joe Oliver's run-scoring single snapped a ninth-inning tie and gave the Tampa Bay Devil Rays a 3-2 victory against a Philadelphia Phillies split squad Saturday.

Oliver drove in Aaron Ledsma, who reached on an infield hit off Wayne Gomes before taking second on Scott Rolen's throwing error.

Oliver also had a RBI single in the second inning, while Bobby Smith drove in Tampa Bay's other run with an RBI groundout.

Tigers (ss) 5, Twins 1

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Juan Encarnacion hit a three-run home run and Bryce Florie pitched five strong innings to lead the split-squad Detroit Tigers to a 5-1 win against the Minnesota Twins on Saturday.

Eric Milton allowed four runs and five hits in five innings for the loss. The Twins' Chad Allen continued his torrid spring with three hits and is now hitting .512 - 21-of-41 - in the spring season.

Milton retired the first seven batters he faced before Brad Ausmus coaxed a walk. Luis Garcia then reached on an error before Encarnacion hit his blast over the left-field fence in the third.

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