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Yankees Climb 56 Games Above .500


Even the Yankees are amazed at what they're doing.

"I can't ever remember a team playing like this before. I'm pretty surprised," said Hideki Irabu, who picked up the win Monday night as New York moved 56 games above .500 for the first time in 37 years with a 7-3 win over the Minnesota Twins.

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  • New York is 85-29, only one game behind the 1902 Pittsburgh Pirates for the best record ever after 114 games, and the Yankees remain on pace to break the single-season record of 116 wins set by the 1906 Chicago Cubs.

    "This is one of those seasons that you just shake your head about, and I continue to do that," Yankees manager Joe Torre said.

    New York won its fifth straight to improve to 43-8 at home. The Yankees last went 56 games over .500 in 1961 when they finished 109-53 before winning the World Series.

    This club isn't concerned about chasing or breaking records, however.

    "It's just not something we're focused on as a team," said Scott Brosius, who hit a two-run homer in the Yankees' three-run fourth. "When we look back, maybe it will be appreciated more."

    The Twins were making their first visit back to Yankee Stadium since David Wells pitched a perfect game on May 17. Irabu hit Otis Nixon leading off, but didn't give up a hit until Marty Cordova 's leadoff single in the fifth. Wells is scheduled to start Tuesday against Eric Milton, who the Yankees traded for Chuck Knoblauch.

    Irabu (11-5) allowed just two hits in seven inning. In his last start, he pitched a two-hitter but lost at Oakland. Mike Stanton started the eighth and allowed the Twins only runs, a three-run homer by Matt Lawton, who praised Irabu.

    "As soon as he gets guys on base, he seems to turn it up a notch. It must be a pretty good feeling to be that good," he said.

    Brosius and Bernie Williams homered to give a Irabu a 7-0 lead after seven innings. The Yankees scored three times in the first two innings off Twins starter Frank Rodriguez (1-2).

    Tino Martinez hit an RBI single in the first inning, and Derek Jeter's run-scoring single in the second gave the Yankees a 2-0 lead. Chuck Knoblauch also scored on Jeter's hit on left fielder Cordova's fielding error.

    Brosius hit a two-run homer, his 13th, and Paul O'Neill added a sacrifice fly in the Yankees' three-run fourth.

    Williams hit his 15th homer, a solo shot in the seventh off Travis Baptist.

    Rodriguez allowed seven hits and six runs, five earned, in four innings.

    Notes

  • Irabu pitched a two-hitter in his last start, a 3-1 loss at Oakland.
  • Nixon stole second in the first and fifth innings, giving him 587 steals to pass former Dodgers great Maury Wills and move into 18th place on the all-time list.
  • The Yankees previous best home record was 40-11 in 1932.
  • The Yankees have homered in 12 consecutive games (27 homers) for their longest streak since 1994 when they homered in 16 straight.
  • Williams has a 12-game hitting streak.

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