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Twins' Late Rally Dooms Yanks

Chad Moeller finally hit his first major league home run, even if it never left the ballpark.

In his 78th major league at-bat, the rookie catcher hit a tiebreaking, two-out, three-run inside-the-park homer as the Minnesota Twins beat the New York Yankees 6-2 Saturday night.

Minnesota, which has won seven of nine, got its 25th come-from-behind win of the season.

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Moeller came to bat with runners at first and third and the score tied at 2. His sinking liner bounced past diving Yankees left fielder Ryan Thompson and rolled to the wall, making it 5-2. His three RBIs on the play equaled his season total for his first 24 games.

"I never would have expected that this was how I get my first homer," Moeller said. "My legs are still shaking. It was great to come up with a chance to win the game. I just was looking for a solid hit and I got a single, then got a little lucky after that."

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  • "They say the inside-the-park homer is the most exciting play in baseball, and it probably is," Minnesota manager Tom Kelly said. "Especially when we are the ones running around the bases. This was a good comeback for us after Friday night."

    Minnesota's three-run eighth-inning rally Friday was negated as New York scored five runs in the ninth for a 9-5 win.

    The Twins got some payback Saturday as they sent 12 batters to the plate in the eighth off five New York relievers, getting five hits and four walks to turn a 2-0 deficit into a 6-2 lead.

    New York came into the game 47-0 when leading after seven innings. The Yankees wasted a strong outing by Roger Clemens, who allowed three singles in seven shutout innings.

    "Baseball is a long season, but this one stung," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "A quality start was wasted. Our bullpen is good 90 percent of the time, but not tonight."

    Reliever Mike Stanton began the eighth with a 2-0 lead, but gave up a single to Matt Lawton and David Ortiz's ground-rule double. Ramiro Mendoza (7-4), activated Friday from the 15-day disabled list, then walked the bases loaded.

    After pinch-hitter Midre Cummings struck out, Jacque Jones tied the game with a two-run single before Moeller's hit. Rookie Randy Choate walked Ron Coomer with the bases loaded to force in the final run.

    Eric Milton (10-6) pitched no-hit ball through 5 1-3 innings, and gave up his only two hits in the sixth. He retired 15 of the first 16 batters he faced, the final eight he faced, and got eight of his 10 strikeouts in the first four innings. He walked two in eight innings, and LaTroy Hawkins completed the combined two-hitter.

    "I was out of the game and it was up to my teammates and they came through," Milton said. "Clemens was Clemens a Hall of Fame pitcher. I was just trying to keep us in the game. We finally got to their bullpen."

    Minnesota, which has won seven of nine, has 11 wins in its last at-bat.

    Clemens did not allow a hit for 4 2-3 innings before Cristian Guzman singled sharply to center. Clemens, 5-0 in July, stranded eight Twins runners, including three at third base. He walked five and struck out four.

    The Yankees broke open a scoreless game with two runs in the sixth. Thompson walked, took second on Jose Vizcaino's single and scored on Derek Jeter's RBI single, New York's only two hits of the game. Paul O'Neill's sacrifice fly scoed Vizcaino to make it 2-0.

    Notes

  • Glenallen Hill's pinch-hit grand slam that won Friday's game was his 12th career pinch-hit home run. It also was New York's fourth grand slam of the season.
  • Since his Yankees debut June 30, David Justice is batting .350 (28-for-80) with 15 runs, 19 RBIs, six homers, six doubles and 14 walks in 23 games.
  • RF Torii Hunter was recalled Friday night from Triple-A Salt Lake City. Hunter, 25, was batting .368 (77-for-209) with 18 home runs, 17 doubles and 61 RBIs in 55 games for the Buzz. Hunter replaced Chad Allen, who was sent to Salt Lake City.
  • The Twins have not had a winning record in any month in 2000. They are 12-13 in July with two games left. In 1999, the Twins' lone winning month was July (15-11).

    ©2000 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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