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