Dodgers 4, Twins 3

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LOS ANGELES (AP)—Call him Three-Seop Choi.

Hee-Seop Choi hit home runs in his first three at-bats, including a go-ahead solo shot in the sixth inning, and the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Minnesota Twins 4-3 Sunday.

“Unbelievable,” Choi said. “The best game of my career.”

The Dodgers won two of three games in the interleague series, including a 6-5 victory Friday night in which Choi homered in the ninth for the winning run. He hit two home runs in that game and finished with six in the series.

“I feel very comfortable every at-bat,” Choi said. “I see the ball and swing. Sometimes I think too much, but now I feel more relaxed and focused.”

Before the game, pitcher Brad Penny teased Choi that he would hit four home runs. “Maybe two,” said Choi, who has 12 homers this season.

Rookie D.J. Houlton (2-0) gave up three runs and seven hits in six innings, struck out eight and walked two while being caught by rookie Mike Rose.

“He’s on fire,” Houlton said about Choi. “He won the game for us.”

Eric Gagne pitched the ninth for his eighth save in eight chances.

All of Choi’s homers came off Brad Radke (5-5), who allowed four runs and nine hits in 6 2-3 innings, struck out seven and walked one.

“The first home run was a pretty good pitch, the last two were supposed to be sinkers away and I left them over too much of the plate,” Radke said. “He just had a little more bat speed today.”

The Twins fed Choi a steady diet of fastballs in the series and three times he connected on the first pitch.

“He kept looking like he was having batting practice,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “Radke just left the ball over the plate to Choi and he kept whacking it. And it didn’t take long, either.”

Gardenhire pulled Radke when Choi came to bat in the seventh. Choi struck out swinging with two runners on against Terry Mulholland, who gave up Choi’s walkoff homer Friday.

“I guess I cooled him off,” Mulholland said. “Of course, I didn’t really have a whole lot to go on after the first at-bat against him because it was just one pitch. But I watched his other at-bats and made a little adjustment.”

Choi’s first home run gave the Dodgers a 1-0 lead in the first. He tied the game at 2 with a leadoff homer in the fourth before J.D. Drew followed with a solo shot for a 3-2 lead.

“He’s doing a much better job of handling different pitches in different locations,” Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said about Choi.

The Twins tied it at 3 in the sixth on an RBI double by Jacque Jones.

Then Choi hit a line drive on the first pitch from Radke that just cleared the right field wall in the bottom of the sixth to put the Dodgers back in front 4-3.

Minnesota scored two runs in the second on consecutive sacrifice flies by Michael Cuddyer and Juan Castro.


Jones singled in the eighth, extending his hitting streak to 12 games. … Houlton’s eight strikeouts tied Jeff Weaver’s season-best effort on May 8 at Cincinnati. … Rose singled in the seventh for his first major league hit. … Dodgers OF Jason Grabowski got his first major league stolen base in the fifth. … It was the sixth time the Dodgers have homered back-to-back this season; the last time was June 4 at Milwaukee. … The announced crowd of 54,368 was the Dodgers’ 13th sellout of the season. … RHP Elmer Dessens, on the DL since April 20 because of bone spurs in his right shoulder, made a rehab start Sunday for Triple-A Las Vegas. He gave up one hit and no runs in four innings and struck out five.

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