The Oakland Athletics have taken a commanding lead in their Major League Baseball playoff series with the Minnesota Twins, winning a second straight game in Minneapolis.

Mark Kotsay hit an inside-the-park home run Wednesday to lift Oakland over Minnesota, 5-2, in the American League divisional series. Oakland won the first game on Tuesday, 3-2, and hosts the next game on Friday. The A's need just one more win to clinch the best-of-five series.

Detroit is hoping to bounce back in game two against the host New York Yankees. The Yankees pounded the Tigers, 8-4, on the first day of the major league playoffs. New York shortstop Derek Jeter got five hits in five at-bats with a home run. Chien-ming Wang, a 26-year-old pitcher from Taiwan who has become the Yankees' ace, got the key first-game win in that best-of-five series.

Also in New York, the Mets held on to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers, 6-5, in the opening game of their National League series. Carlos Delgado smacked a home run and drove in three runs on four hits to spark the Mets, who are aiming to win their first World Series since 1986.

The Dodgers battled back from a 4-1 deficit with three runs in the seventh inning before the Mets answered with two more runs. Game-Two is Thursday in New York.

In the other National League series, the San Diego Padres and St. Louis Cardinals play their second game on Thursday. In southern California Tuesday, the Cardinals flew past the Padres, 5-1. Albert Pujols hit a two-run homer for the Cardinals, who survived a late-season fade to slide into the playoffs on the final day of the regular season.

All of the four first-round playoffs are best-of-five series. Winners of the two American League series will then play each other on a best-of-seven basis, with the winner going on to the World Series. The National League follows the same pattern.

Some information for this report provided by AFP.