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CANSECO HITS LIKE JOSE TO SINK HERD

Ozzie Canseco put on a reasonable impersonation of his identical twin brother Thursday at Pilot Field.

The 27-year-old Canseco hit a gargantuan home run, made a leaping catch against the wall in left field and threw out a runner at home in leading the Louisville Redbirds to a 5-4 victory over the Buffalo Bisons.

The home run was positively Jose-like. It easily cleared the 60-foot screen in left field, took one bounce and caromed off a car in the parking lot across Oak Street. The two-run shot off Bisons starter Blas Minor gave Louisville a 4-1 lead and ranked among the longest in Pilot Field's brief history.

Press box observers could only remember one homer in that direction -- Syracuse's Glenallen Hill hit one down Seneca Street in 1989 -- that definitely was longer.

"I figured he'd come with a fastball inside and I got all of it," said Canseco. "I've got identical power to Jose."

Ozzie, however, apparently is missing the chromosome that allows Jose to hit curve balls, which is one reason why this is just his first season in Triple A baseball.

Canseco, who started his career as a pitcher in the Yankee organization and switched to the field in 1986, has a .236 career average in the minors.

After hitting 20 homers in Double A in 1990, he went to Japan last year. He was sent to the Japanese minor leagues and came back home in July, three months before the end of the season.

"I went there to learn how to hit the breaking ball, the off-speed pitches, and I did that," Canseco said.

He is hitting .218 with three homers and eight RBIs for the Redbirds.

"He isn't consistent yet," said Louisville manager Jack Krol. "He's got power, and he's not a bad outfielder. He strikes out a lot. If he ever learned to make contact more consistently, he'd really have something."

Canseco's homer was one of only two hard hits off Minor, but the other also was a two-run homer, by Tracy Woodson in the first.

"He was up a lot today, and he got away with a lot of them," Bisons manager Marc Bombard said of Minor, who struck out six in five innings.

The Bisons rallied from the 4-1 deficit with single runs in the fifth, seventh and eighth innings to tie. A Jeff Richardson homer, a double by Joe Redfield and a single by Pete Beeler plated those scores.

Louisville, however, opened the ninth with three straight hits and the go-ahead run off Herd reliever Lee Hancock (0-1).

Canseco thwarted a scoring attempt in the second, throwing home to get Kevin Young, who was trying to score from second on a single. With two on and two out in the fourth, Canseco went three-quarters of the way up the wall to rob Will Pennyfeather.

A crowd of about 1,000 (13,307 tickets were sold) waited through a two-hour, 50-minute rain delay before the game began.

The Bisons begin a three-game series with Indianapolis tonight (7:05, Radio 1400).

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