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Yanks, Gonzalez roll on record pace

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It has been a historic first half of the season for the New York Yankees and Juan Gonzalez.

Gonzalez hit a pair of two-run homers in Texas' 8-4 victory over Seattle on Sunday night to become the second player to top 100 RBIs before the All-Star break.Gonzalez homered in the first and seventh innings off Randy Johnson (7-8) to give him 101 RBIs, two behind Hank Green-berg's record in 1935.

"To have 100 RBIs at this point is amazing," Gonzalez said. "For this to come against a pitcher like Randy Johnson makes it even more special."

New York's success has been of the team variety. The Yankees used a hit batsman with the bases loaded and eight shutout innings from David Cone to beat Baltimore 1-0.

"We win a 1-0 game on a hit-batter . . . it's nuts. It's a strange game," manager Joe Torre said.

The victory was New York's sixth straight, 10th in 11 games and improved the Yankees' record to 61-20, matching the record 81-game starts by the 1902 Pittsburgh Pirates and the 1907 Chicago Cubs. The Yankees, 33-6 at home, entered the All-Star break 11 games ahead of Boston in the AL East.

"We definitely should be proud about that," Cone said. "We know it's a long season, and everyone is conditioned to downplay the start and downplay everything. . . . But in essence, we should be proud. It's a great start and a great accomplishment to be mentioned with the best teams of all-time."

To keep being mentioned in the same breath as teams like the 1927 Yankees and the 1976 Cincinnati Reds - and not the 111-win 1954 Cleveland Indians, who were swept in the World Series - the Yankees know they must win in October.

Cleveland and Anaheim join New York atop their divisions heading into the All-Star break.

The Yankees scored their run in the third. Luis Sojo and Paul O'Neill singled with one out. One out later, Scott Erickson (8-7) walked Tim Raines to load the bases and hit Chad Curtis on the left hand to force in the only run.

At Arlington, Texas, Gonzalez's 10th game with four or more RBIs this season kept him ahead of Hack Wilson's record pace of 1930. Wilson had 89 RBIs through 87 games on his way to 190 on the season.

BLUE JAYS 2, DEVIL RAYS 1: At Toronto, Roger Clemens struck out seven to become only the 11th pitcher to record 3,000 strikeouts as Toronto swept the three-game series.

"I know the history and I know the great names, but I'll just have to look at it on paper and I'll reflect on it down the road," said Clemens, who allowed one run and five hits in 71/3 innings, raising his strikeout total to 3,002.

INDIANS 12, ROYALS 3: At Kansas City, Manny Ramirez hit two home runs for the second time in three days, including a grand slam, to lead Cleveland.

ATHLETICS 5, ANGELS 4: At Anaheim, Kevin Mitchell homered in the eighth to tie the game and walked off Troy Percival (1-3) with the bases loaded in the ninth to force in the winning run.

RED SOX 15, WHITE SOX 14: At Boston, John Valentin's RBI single broke a seventh-inning tie and Boston recovered after blowing an eight-run lead.

TWINS 5, TIGERS 4: At Minneapolis, LaTroy Hawkins (5-8) allowed four runs in five innings but won his first game in three weeks.

Todd Walker hit his seventh homer off Brian Moehler (8-6) and Ron Coomer drove in two runs for Minnesota. Rick Aguilera picked up his 18th save.


BRAVES 3, METS 2, 11 INNINGS: Michael Tucker scored from third on a sacrifice fly, expanding Atlanta's division lead over the second-place Mets to 121/2 games.

ASTROS 5, DIAMONDBACKS 2: Houston got homers from Moises Alou and Craig Biggio and three RBIs from Brad Ausmus, as the Astros maintained a five-game division lead over Chicago in the NL Central.

Sean Bergman Sean Bergman recorded his career-high eighth victory.

PADRES 7, ROCKIES 2: At San Diego, Greg Vaughn hit his 29th and 30th homers and Carlos Hernandez hit a three-run homer as San Diego completed a three-game sweep and moved a club-record 26 games above .500.

REDS 6, CARDINALS 1: At Cincinnati, St. Louis' failure to turn a double play again set up Cincinnati's winning rally.

Rookie second baseman Placido Polanco missed the base with his foot while making a pivot in the sixth, allowing the go-ahead run to score. Brook Fordyce followed with a bases-loaded single for a 4-1 lead.

MARLINS 2, EXPOS 1: At Montreal, Brian Meadows won his third straight decision and drove in a run with a sacrifice fly.

PHILLIES 4, BREWERS 3: At Philadelphia, Scott Rolen hit a three-run homer and rookie Carlton Loewer (3-1) allowed only three runs over seven innings as the Phillies completed a three-game sweep.

CUBS 7, PIRATES 6: At Chicago, Jose Hernandez hit a tie-breaking two-run single with two outs in the eighth, completing a late comeback and giving the Cubs their fifth straight victory. The Cubs trailed 5-0 in the seventh.

GIANTS 3, DODGERS 0: At San Francisco, Brent Mayne broke a scoreless tie with an RBI single in the fifth inning.