Juan Gonzalez could not hit El Duque. Ivan Rodriguez and Will Clark couldn't, either.
Facing the Texas Rangers for the first time, quirky Orlando Hernandez had his way Thursday night. Mixing his pitches and arm angles, he set a Yankees rookie record with 13 strikeouts as New York won 2-0 for its eighth straight victory.Hernandez (8-3) allowed just two hits in 81/3 innings against the AL West leaders and left to a standing ovation from the home crowd of 53,835.
"I won 129 games pitching in Cuba, and have pitched in some very big games, and this one was big," Hernandez said.
Hernandez fanned Gonzalez, the major league RBIs leader, three times on the way to breaking Stan Bahnsen's rookie mark of 12 strikeouts against Boston in 1968.
"He made a lot of pitches different," Rodriguez said. "He threw over the top, he threw three-quarters. He threw from the side, he can even throw the slider over the top. . . . He's got so many releases, it's hard to see."
New York, with the best record in baseball, improved to 46-8 at Yankee Stadium. Its .852 pace is ahead of the top home record in history, set by the Big Red Machine in Cincinnati at 64-17 (.790) in 1975.
"They win them so fast now," Texas manager Johnny Oates said, "that you can't even count them."
The Yankees won with just three hits. Rick Helling (15-7) lost despite pitching his third complete game.
Helling set down 14 straight batters at one stretch and permitted only one hit after the first inning. He struck out eight.
ORIOLES 7, INDIANS 4: Rafael Palmeiro hit a three-run homer in the 12th inning off Steve Reed as Baltimore won at Jacobs Field.
Brady Anderson, who homered earlier, and Eric Davis, who extended his hitting streak to 28 games, each singled before Pal-meiro hit his 37th home run.
After the game, Cleveland signed Cecil Fielder to help ease the loss of injured first baseman Jim Thome. Fielder cleared waivers earlier in the day after being cut by Anaheim.
RED SOX 8, TWINS 7: Nomar Garciaparra homered, singled and hit a go-ahead double in the seventh inning as Boston beat Minnesota at Fenway Park.
Garciparra has 25 home runs and 95 RBIs. The reigning AL rookie of the year is batting .358 with a .704 slugging percentage in 19 games since the Red Sox moved him into the cleanup spot.
BLUE JAYS 4, ANGELS 3: Jose Cruz Jr. hit a two-run single in the eighth inning as host Toronto won its fifth straight game. Anaheim had its four-game winning streak stopped and fell to 0-5 against the Blue Jays this season.
Shawn Green hit his 22nd home run and also had a two-out double that began the Blue Jays' rally in the eighth.
ROYALS, 6, DEVIL RAYS 4: Dean Palmer ended a frustrating stretch with a two-run homer in the 10th inning at Kansas City.
Palmer had stranded 14 runners in his previous two games, striking out five times and grounding into two double plays in eight at-bats.
Wade Boggs had four hits for the Devil Rays and passed Zack Wheat for 30th place on the career list with 2,887.