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Grand Game For Yankees


Ricky Ledee didn't take extra batting practice with his teammates Friday night. He might want to skip it the rest of the season.

Ledee hit his first career grand slam and drove in a career-high five runs as the New York Yankees' offense woke up a little to beat the Minnesota Twins 9-3.

New York, which totaled one run in losing its previous two games to Kansas City, scored five in the first inning and was ahead 6-0 by the end of the second.

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  • "I feel pretty loose swinging," Ledee said when asked why he skipped the extra BP.

    "I'm trying to be aggressive," he said. "It's a lot easier when you get a chance to play."

    Ledee hit a grand slam in the first off Brad Radke (9-12) and added an RBI single in a three-run ninth off Mike Trombley, going 2-for-5 to raise his average to .305.

    Bernie Williams, who did not start the previous three games due to a stomach illness, had two-out RBI singles in each of the first two innings and went 2-for-4.

    He also skipped the early session, but manager Joe Torre could see Williams was ready.

    "He has a smile on his face today," Torre said.

    Torre said his team tried to be patient at the plate.

    "We made them throw strikes," he said. "Everybody made their own adjustments."

    Hideki Irabu (10-4) allowed three runs and seven hits in seven-plus innings, while walking one and striking out seven. He has won nine of his last 10 decisions.

    "When I got to the fifth inning I started changing my pattern and thahelped," said Irabu through an interpreter. "I started throwing my changeup more."

    New York had scored just 12 runs in six games since beating Minnesota 14-2 last Friday and had hit just .169 in its previous four games, but the Yankees had nine hits against the Twins.

    Still, New York batters are struggling. Scott Brosius went 0-for-5 and is in a 1-for-34 slump. Paul O'Neill went 0-for-4 and has two hits in his last 18 at-bats. Chili Davis snapped an 0-for-15 slump with a double in the eighth, going 1-for-2.

    Radke allowed six runs and five hits in just 1 2-3 innings, tying the shortest outing of his career. He walked four batters for the first time in almost three years as Minnesota lost its fifth straight.

    Both Radke and manager Tom Kelly said plate umpire James Evans missed a couple strikes in the first inning.

    "Obviously the umpire didn't like what Radke was throwing tonight," Kelly said. "It was uncommon, I should say, uncharacteristic, for him to throw so many balls."

    Radke, who entered the game averaging 1.94 walks per nine innings for his career, walked three in the first inning.

    "A team like this, they have pretty good eyes the whole team does," Radke said. "Then you throw a strike and they hit it."

    Chuck Knoblauch and Derek Jeter led off the game with consecutive singles, before O'Neill grounded into a double play. Williams followed with an RBI single and Radke walked the next two batters, loading the bases.

    Ledee then hit a 2-0 pitch for his sixth homer of the season, the Yankees' fifth slam this year.

    Knoblauch, who hit a slam against the Twins last week, walked to start the second inning and moved to second on Jeter's fielder's choice. After O'Neill flied out, Williams singled to end Radke's night.

    Minnesota's Todd Walker and Marty Cordova each hit RBI singles in the third to make it 6-2. Cordova added a run-scoring groundout in the eighth.

    Tino Martinez hit a two-run triple in the ninth off Trombley and scored on Ledee's single.

    Notes

  • New York starters are 4-3 with a 1.89 ERA in the last eight games.
  • New York has won the opening game in each of its last 11 series.
  • Darryl Strawberry homered twice for Triple-A Columbus on Friday night.
  • Minnesota optioned LHP Benj Sapson to Salt Lake of the Pacific Coast League and called up RHP Jason Ryan. Ryan came over from the Cubs in the Rick Aguilera trade.
  • Radke allowed two runs in 7 2-3 innings of a 5-3 win at New York last Saturday. Irabu lost that game.
  • On May 24, 1995, in his rookie season, Radke allowed seven runs in 1 2-3 innings at Detroit.

    ©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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