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WHITE SOX FLEX MUSCLES TO POUND BLUE JAYS, 9-2

Home runs were bouncing around the SkyDome again. Finally, it was the Chicago White Sox who were doing the bopping.

Chicago, which hit just five during its six-game loss to Toronto in last year's AL playoffs, matched that total Wednesday night in a 9-2 rout of the Blue Jays."A lot of guys were swinging the bat well tonight, and you always want to score 10 runs if you can," said Darrin Jackson, who homered twice despite spending the first six innings on the bench.

Robin Ventura also homered twice, including his fifth career grand slam. Each time, teammates followed him over the wall - Dan Pasqua in the fourth off Pat Hentgen (0-1) and Jackson in the seventh off Paul Spoljaric. Jackson also homered in the eighth off Scott Brow.

"It seems you always try to do too much the next time up after you hit one out," said Ventura, 3-for-5 with five RBIs. "I was just trying to swing hard, make contact and not hit into a double play."

In other games, Boston beat Detroit 5-4, California beat Minnesota 4-1 and Baltimore beat Kansas City 5-2. Texas was rained out at New York and will play today. Seattle was rained out at Cleveland.

Wilson Alvarez (1-0) won his eighth consecutive regular-season decision, allowing one run and four hits in seven innings at the SkyDome. He beat the Blue Jays in Game 3 of the AL playoffs last year.

"I was aggressive tonight, like last year in the playoffs," Alvarez said. "It may sound like I'm being a hot dog, but that's the way I have to pitch to throw strikes and win games."

Reds Sox 5, Tigers 4

Dave Valle broke a 3-3 tie with a two-run triple in the sixth inning at Fenway Park. Mike Greenwell had tied the score with a three-run homer in the fourth.

Ricky Trlicek, claimed last Friday after Los Angeles placed him on waivers, retired all five batters in relief of Frank Viola, getting out of a two-on jam in the fifth. Jeff Russell pitched the ninth for his second save.

"I was pretty pumped up out there," Trlicek said. "The most important thing, coming in with runners on, is throwing strikes. You don't want to get behind" in the count.

David Wells allowed five runs and seven hits in six innings.

Angels 4, Twins 1

John Dopson, unwanted in the offseason after losing his last six decisions in 1993, pitched seven innings of four-hit ball for visiting California.

"First impressions are pretty important, but it's still early," Dopson said.

Damion Easley hit a first-row home run in the fourth, and Bo Jackson - who earlier broke his bat across a knee after striking out - singled home an eighth-inning run.

After Kent Hrbek's single made it 2-1 in the eighth, California got two runs in the ninth off Mark Guthrie when Gary DiSarcina hit an RBI double and scored on a wild pitch.

Orioles 4, Royals 2

Rafael Palmeiro and Kansas City nemesis Harold Baines hit successive homers in the sixth at Camden Yards.

Ben McDonald allowed two runs in 6 1-3 innings as the Orioles swept the series to go 2-0 for the first time since 1989. McDonald (1-0) gave up eight hits, struck out three and walked one.

Palmeiro hit his second solo homer in two games to make it 2-2 against David Cone (0-1). Baines followed with an opposite-field drive inside the left-field foul pole. He went 2-for-3 with a walk and is 15-for-20 with five walks against the Royals at Camden Yards.

"One of these days it will stop," Palmeiro said after his second curtain call in two games. "Hopefully it will be a while. I'm going to take advantage of it."