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Pettitte keeps Yankees' amazing streak going

4/20/2003

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The New York Yankees are an embarrassment of
riches right now, off to a franchise-best 14-3 start with an
abundance of power hitting and quality starting pitching.

Bernie Williams had a two-run homer and Raul Mondesi hit a solo
shot Saturday night to lead the Yankees over the Minnesota Twins
4-2.

"Let's just enjoy it,'' manager Joe Torre said.

Andy Pettitte (3-0) pitched 7 1/3 innings to run the rotation's
record to 12-0 -- the major leagues' longest season-opening streak
in the last 50 years, according to the Elias Sports Bureau,
baseball's statistician. New York is off to a franchise-best 14-3
start.

"It's amazing -- we're throwing the ball real well,'' Pettitte
said. "The guys are swinging the bats so well, it's tough to pitch
to us right now.''

The Yankees also beat the Twins for the 11th straight time,
spanning the past two seasons. They've outhomered Minnesota 25-2
during the streak.

The Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was unusually edgy after the
game.

"You're facing the New York Yankees. You know how many runs
they give up?'' Gardenhire said. "They have pretty good pitchers
over there. Our guys are out there busting their butts trying.''

Juan Acevedo came on with runners on first and third and two
outs in the ninth and struck out pinch-hitter Dustan Mohr -- now
3-for-27 this year -- for his third save.

"Dustan had a good pitch to hit,'' Gardenhire said, "and he
just missed it.''

Twins center fielder Torii Hunter gave the crowd of 36,139 at
least something to cheer about by going 2-for-3 with a double, an
RBI and another amazing homer-robbing catch.

Pettitte twisted his ankle backing up home plate in his last
start, but the Yankees were confident enough in his health to send
Jose Contreras to Triple-A before the game. That looked like the
right decision. Pettitte allowed two runs and six hits, while
striking out seven.

"He kept the pitch count down,'' Torre said. "I thought his
cutter was good, and it just looked like he was in a good zone
tonight. He changed speeds well and kept them on their heels by
throwing strikes.''

Hunter, who received his second Gold Glove award in a pregame
ceremony the night before, showed how he got it in the sixth.

Nick Johnson hit a drive to straightaway center that Hunter
brought back over the wall with a leaping, two-handed grab, landing
hard on his head as he fell to the warning track.

Hunter rolled around in pain for a few seconds, as Twins starter
Mays flashed a concerned glance and Gardenhire sprinted out with
trainer Jim Kahmann. Hunter remained in the game, but his neck was
a little sore afterward.

"He's one of the best in the business,'' Williams said.

After Jason Giambi walked, Hunter got another chance.

Williams' drive barely cleared the fence in left-center as
Hunter -- after sprinting to get there -- came up empty on his jump.

A fan caught it instead, probably a little to high for Hunter to
reach.

"I felt like a had a beat on it,'' said Hunter, who punched the
wall disgustedly as Williams rounded the bases and put the Yankees
up 3-2.

Mondesi's homer in the next inning gave them a two-run cushion.

"That was my bad,'' Mays said of his changeup that stayed up in
the strike zone.

Alfonso Soriano, who began Friday's game with a homer,
kick-started the Yankees' offense once again Saturday by ripping a
single up the middle off Mays and scoring on Hideki Matsui's
two-out single.

Johnson had a tough time with his glove in the bottom of the
first -- though he wasn't charged with any errors.

Jacque Jones beat out a grounder to deep shortstop, and Erick Almonte's bouncing throw was too low for Johnson to scoop.

Pettitte had Jones picked off first, but Johnson simply dropped
the throw -- allowing Jones his fourth steal of the season and the
chance to tie the score at 1 on Hunter's two-out single.

The Twins took the lead in the fourth on A.J. Pierzynski's RBI
single.

Mays (2-2), who gave up seven runs in five innings to New York
in a start last week, retired 13 of 14 at one point. He gave up
four runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings.

"We just haven't been able to keep the ball in the park against
these guys,'' Mays said.

Game notes
The Twins will activate RHP Mike Fetters from the disabled
list Sunday and option RHP Juan Rincon to Triple-A Edmonton. ...
The Yankees have never swept a four-game series from the Twins in
Minnesota. It's their first 11-game winning streak against the
Twins.