MINNEAPOLIS (AP)—The Homer Dome might need a new nickname. Welcome to the Triple Play Dome.
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 on Saturday night.
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.
“Seeing this one is fun,” said reliever Juan Rincon, who threw the pitch that got the play started. “Seeing the other one is not fun.”
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.
“That wasn’t the first time that’s happened to me,” Johjima said through an interpreter. “I regret more by not getting the job done. That’s the worst thing that could happen.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
“We’ve got to find a way to turn that around, plain and simple,” Hargrove said. “We’re leaving a lot of runs out there that are there for the taking.”
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. He also had a double and three RBIs.
Castro’s first homer in 164 at-bats, dating to last Sept. 6, made it 6-4 in the sixth.
Castillo had three hits to snap an 0-for-14 skid and Torii Hunter had two RBIs for the Twins, who were just happy to be on the good end of a triple play this time around.
It was a little extra special for Castillo, whose popup bunt started the back-breaking triple play in the Twins’ loss to the White Sox.
“I said, ‘We got it!”’ Castillo said with a smile. “Last time, they got me. Now we got the other team.”
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.