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MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (AFP) – Pitcher Andy Pettitte, who admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs earlier in his career, passed Whitey Ford to become the New York Yankees’ all-time strikeouts leader.

The 41-year-old left handed American recorded his 1,958th strikeout by fanning Justin Morneau for the second out in the fifth inning of New York’s 10-4 win over the Minnesota Twins.

It was the second strikeout of the night for Pettitte, who also fanned Clete Thomas earlier in the Major League Baseball contest. Ford’s record had stood since 1967.

The milestone strikeout was about the only thing that went right Monday night for Pettitte as he gave up a leadoff home run to Chris Parmelee in the sixth to give the Twins a 4-3 lead.

Pettitte was then bailed out by relief pitcher Joba Chamberlain, who got the win, and the Yankee batters who scored three runs in the eighth.

“It was a great game for the team. We needed a win. The bullpen was awesome,” Pettitte said.

Hall of Famer Ford spent his entire 16-year career with New York, winning six World Series championships and playing in the period of great Yankee teams in the 1950s and 1960s.

Pettitte has five World Series rings but thrived mainly in baseball’s so called “steroid era”.

Pettitte was one of several Yankees named in the Mitchell Report, a 21-month long probe into the use of anabolic steroids, human growth hormone in American baseball.

Pettitte admitted using HGH in 2002 and again in 2004 in an affidavit made public as part of a hearing before the US House of Representatives’ Committee on Oversite and Government Reform.

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