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Mussina gives up one unearned run in eight innings

NEW YORK (AP) -- After outslugging their opponents in their first six games, the New York Yankees showed they can win the pitchers' duels, too.

Mike Mussina allowed no earned runs in eight innings to beat the Minnesota Twins for the 19th time in 21 decisions and the Yankees got home runs from Jorge Posada and Raul Mondesi in a 2-1 victory Wednesday night.

"It was important because we showed we're able to go out and win a close, low-scoring game,'' Mussina said. "We've been scoring a lot of runs and hitting a lot of homers. It was important to show we can win the low-scoring ones.''

The Yankees averaged nearly nine runs per game before being held
in check by Kyle Lohse (1-1) on a crisp 40-degree night at Yankee
Stadium where the ball didn't carry well to the outfield.

But Mussina (2-0) was more than up to the task against his
favorite team. He allowed one run and six hits in the 120-pitch
outing. He improved his winning percentage against the Twins to
.905 -- the highest for any active pitcher against any team.

"This is a much better ballclub than the one most of those wins were against,'' Mussina said. "Most of them came between the world championship in '91 and the last couple of years when the organization got things going in the right direction.''

Lohse retired the first nine batters and didn't allow a hit out
of the infield until Posada and Mondesi homered in the fifth.

"He fell behind on me and I got a good pitch to hit and hit it
well,'' Posada said. "Mondesi hit a very good pitch down and away
and got it out. That was the game.''

That gave the Yankees 19 homers in their first eight games -- one
shy of the AL record, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The
Yankees set the record in 1932 and Seattle matched it five years
ago. St. Louis holds the major league mark of 23 in 2000.

New York beat Minnesota for the eighth straight time to improve
to 7-1 this season. The AL Central champion Twins have lost five
straight since starting the year 3-0.

"It would be nice to get a win here and get back on track,''
Twins outfielder Jacque Jones said. "We just seem to have trouble
with these guys.''

Hideki Matsui went 0-for-3 to snap a seven-game hitting streak
one day after becoming the first Yankee to hit a grand slam in his
Yankee Stadium debut.

Juan Acevedo pitched the ninth for his second save in place of
injured closer Mariano Rivera and first at Yankee Stadium.

"He's done this before, but when you do it with the Yankees
it's a different story,'' Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "You
know he was excited.''

The Twins broke on top with an unearned run in the second inning. Bobby Kielty hit a one-out single to right field and went to second when Mondesi bobbled it for an error. A.J. Pierzynski, who went 3-for-3, hit an RBI single with two outs to make it 1-0.

The Twins threatened again in the fifth, when they loaded the
bases with one out on two walks and a single. Jones hit a slow
roller that Mussina bobbled before getting the force at home.
Cristian Guzman grounded to second to end the inning.

"That turned out to be a big inning,'' Mussina said. "One
pitch and they could have added onto their lead. Then we went out
and took the lead from them and stole the game right there.''

Missed chances have been a problem so far this season for the
Twins. Minnesota has scored only 24 runs in eight games, including
three or fewer in the last seven.

Lohse was dominating early, needing just 34 pitches to work
through three perfect innings at the start. Alfonso Soriano led off
the fourth with an infield single in the hole at shortstop.

Soriano went to third on Nick Johnson's groundout to third. He
slid in feet first ahead of first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz's
throw. Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter dislocated his left shoulder
on a similar play in the season opener when he collided with
Toronto catcher Ken Huckaby's shin guards on a headfirst slide.

Lohse then struck out Jason Giambi and retired Bernie Williams
on a groundout to preserve the 1-0 lead.

Lohse gave up the two homers in the fifth and left after allowing two runs and three hits in seven innings.

"I thought he pitched great,'' Twins manager Ron Gardenhire
said. "He made one mistake I thought to Posada when he got behind
and didn't make a good pitch. But I don't think he did much
wrong.''

Game notes
The Yankees have outhomered opponents 19-2 and outscored
them 63-29 this season. ... Mondesi snapped an 80 at-bat homerless
streak since Sept. 10. ... Mussina threw more than 120 pitches just
once last season when he threw 131 in a 13-6 loss to Kansas City on
Aug. 6. ... Lohse has allowed just five hits and two runs in 15
innings.