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Yankees Crush Twins, 14-2


All Andy Pettitte needed was self-confidence, and the passing of the trade deadline seems to have brought it back.

Pettitte won his third straight start and Chuck Knoblauch hit a grand slam against his former team as the New York Yankees used a season-high 22 hits to rout the Minnesota Twins 14-2 Friday night.

"To tell you the truth, I can't remember my old self being as locked in as I've been these last three starts," Pettitte said.

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Game Summary

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  • Pettitte (10-8), plagued by inconsistency and self-doubt before the July 31 deadline, has won three straight starts for the first time since he went 4-0 from June 27-July 14, 1998.

    "The more he does it, the more confidence he's going to have that he can do it," Yankees manager Joe Torre said.

    Pettitte stretched his shutout streak to 16 innings before Torii Hunter's sacrifice fly in the seventh. He appears to have made a 180-degree turn since his July 28 start at Chicago, when he threw a sidearm curveball a pitch that isn't even in his repertoire to Chris Singleton.

    "That's how lost I was. That was bottom for me," Pettitte admitted.

    Pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre has urged him to simplify in an effort to restore mechanics and confidence.

    "Now that I look back, I was overthrowing almost every pitch the last four months," Pettitte said.

    He's lowered his ERA from 5.65 to 4.80 in his last three starts, giving up two earned runs in 23 innings.

    On Friday, he allowed five hits in eight innings, struck out 11 to reach double digits for the first time in two years and walked three. He started 20 of 32 batters off with strikes.

    "The only thing he had to change was going afte hitters and throwing strike one more often," Torre said.

    The defending World Series champions, home following a 6-1 West Coast trip, are on their best stretch of the season, winning eight of nine to boost their record to 71-43, the best in the majors. The Yankees batted around three times.

    "I don't think Friday the 13th had anything to do with it," Twins manager Tom Kelly said. "We just stunk."

    Bernie Williams and Luis Sojo hit two-run homers in a six-run third against LaTroy Hawkins (8-9).

    Williams went 3-for-4 with three RBIs and is hitting .512 in August (21-for-41) with six homers and 25 RBIs, raising his average from .333 to .354.

    "That's what sets him apart from a lot of other players," Torre said, "the numbers he can put up in a short period of time."

    Derek Jeter went 3-for-5, also lifting his average to .354, and Knoblauch went 3-for-6, connecting off Benj Sampson in the sixth for his third career slam.

    Hawkins, who had won a career-best five straight decisions coming in, was rocked for nine runs and 12 hits in 3 1-3 innings. It was the most runs off him in 89 career starts and matched the most hits.

    After giving up a pair of homers that raised his season total to 20, Hawkins blamed plate umpire Mike Reilly.

    "They should call a strike a strike when you throw the ball over the plate," Hawkins said. "I don't care who's up there just because it's the Yankees? I don't care. I don't want to think about it. They've got an advantage."

    New York took a 6-0 lead in the third on Paul O'Neill's two-run double, Williams' 21st homer and Sojo's second in 83 at-bats this season.

    Sojo started at third because Scott Brosius left the ballpark before the game. Brosius' father, who has cancer, apparently took a turn for the worse.

    "It's tough," Sojo said. "Like I say all the time, I have to be ready whenever they need me."

    Notes

  • It was the most hits for the Yankees since they had 22 in an 18-2 rout of Oakland on Aug. 26, 1997 Pettitte also won that one.
  • Yankees coach Chris Chambliss was admitted to Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center with a urinary tract infection.
  • Saturday's game will start at 3 p.m. EDT instead of 4:35 p.m. because of rain forecast for late in the day.
  • Twins' starters are the Minnesota gophers this year: Eric Milton has gven up 23 homers and Brad Radke 20. The team total of 157 is third in the majors behind Colorado and Detroit.
  • Hawkins also allowed 12 hits last Sept. 23 against Chicago.
  • Pettitte, just 4-4 against the Twins, struck out a career-high 12 against Boston on Sept. 16, 1997.
  • Hawkins is 1-5 against the Yankees.
  • Knoblauch made his 19th error at second base and led off five innings.
  • Before the game, the U.S. Postal Service unveiled its Roger Maris stamp.
  • Sampson was tagged for 10 hits in 2 2-3 innings.
  • Javier Valentin homered off Jeff Nelson in the ninth.

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

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