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Rotation's start 14-0 after Wells beats Twins

4/21/2003

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The Minnesota Twins were glad to see the New York Yankees leave town Monday.

Alfonso Soriano hit a grand slam and Nick Johnson homered twice
to give David Wells more than enough support as the Yankees
completed their second straight season sweep of the Twins with a
15-1 victory.

"We got lambasted," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We're
a long way from being in their league, from what I saw out there."

The Yankees won all four games this weekend and have beaten the
Twins 13 straight times the past two seasons, outhomering them 31-3 in that span.

"I'd like to give you my glove and let you try to face that
lineup," Minnesota starter Rick Reed told reporters after giving
up a career-high 11 runs.

Wells, who pitched a perfect game against Minnesota in 1998, ran
the rotation's record to 14-0 -- the longest winning streak to start
a season since 1900, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

In this series, Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Mike Mussina and
Wells struck out 26 in 29 1/3 innings, giving up only 23 hits and
six runs.

"It comes down to starting pitching," said Bernie Williams,
who hit a two-run homer in the ninth off J.C. Romero. "It just
gives our offense a good chance to get something going. It is a
luxury we are experiencing right now."

Wells (3-0) pitched a seven-hitter for his second complete game
of the season, both against the Twins. Dustan Mohr spoiled the
shutout bid in the eighth with his second home run of the season.

But by then it was too late.

Erick Almonte had a career-high three hits and Raul Mondesi also
went 3-for-4 for the Yankees, who had 14 hits and lead the majors
with 39 homers.

"Our confidence is sky high right now," manager Joe Torre
said.

New York has more homers than Detroit has runs (34) this season.

"Everything we threw up there, they whacked," Gardenhire said.

The Yankees' high-powered offense had scored in the first inning
of each of the first three games of the series until Reed (1-3)
struck out the side in first.

Two errors cost him in the third, when Almonte doubled to center
and moved up a base when Bobby Kielty bobbled the ball.

Soriano hit a sharp grounder to third that Chris Gomez -- playing
there for the first time in his career -- couldn't scoop and allowed
Almonte to score.

Johnson hit a two-run homer to make it 3-0, and it just got
worse from there for Reed. He gave up 10 earned runs and 10 hits in
4 1/3 innings.

With two outs in the fourth, Reed put three straight men on base
before failing to get a pitch to Soriano inside enough.

Soriano, who has one of the quickest swings in the game, hit an
0-1 sinker into the left-field seats to put the Yankees ahead 7-0.

"I knew I had a good swing," said Soriano, who was later asked
if this was the best the Yankees have played in his three seasons.

"We win the game like every day," Soriano said, "so that's
pretty good."

Reed got one out in the fifth before the next five batters
reach.

Tony Fiore entered with a nine-run deficit, allowing RBI singles
to Almonte and Johnson that pushed New York's lead to 11-0.

"We got a big lead," Wells said, "so it was like, 'Let's just
go get this game over with.' "

Gardenhire, who was ejected from Sunday's game for arguing with
umpire Joe Brinkman, emptied his bench on Monday.

Gomez led off and played third, Matthew LeCroy was at first base
for Doug Mientkiewicz, Mohr subbed for Jacque Jones in left, Tom Prince replaced A.J. Pierzynski at catcher and Kielty was in center
for Torii Hunter -- the designated hitter.

It didn't do much good for the defending AL Central champion
Twins.

"Thank God we're in the Central and not the East," Reed said.

The Twins are 9-10 but won't have to play the Yankees again in
the regular season.

"We're not worried," Pierzynski said. "There's a long way to
go. We're still a confident ballclub."

Game notes
The Twins have 12 homers, ahead of only Detroit (5) in the
AL. ... Mondesi, hit in the hip on a pitch from Fiore in the sixth,
gave the right-hander a staredown on his slow walk to first. Said
Mondesi: "He knew if he threw it over the plate, I would get
another base hit." ... Hunter walked in the seventh -- the first
issued by Wells in 59 innings. ... Minnesota's last win over the
Yankees was May 10, 2001. ... This was Johnson's first career
multihomer game. ... Mohr's homer ended an 0-for-19 skid. ...
Soriano's grand slam was the second of his career. He also hit one
on Opening Day at Toronto.