Clemens Gets 299th Career Victory, But Leaves Game

Career victory number 299 for Roger Clemens didn't come smoothly. The Rocket scattered nine hits and allowed a homerun to Nomar Garciaparra for the 4-2 victory, but was forced to leave the game after the sixth inning after taking a line drive off his pitching hand hit by the Red Sox' Bill Mueller.

Clemens will need further evaluation before determining if he can go for win number 300 on Monday at Yankee Stadium as scheduled. Should Clemens pitch that day, it would be against the Red Sox again.

Raul Mondesi's RBI single in the seventh inning gave the Yankees back the lead 3-2 as the Bronx Bombers won the rubber match of the three-game series with rival Boston. The victory gave the Yankees sole possession of first place atop the AL East.

For the third straight game, the Yankees opened the scoring in the top of the first inning. This time, Jason Giambi connected on a solo homerun off of Tim Wakefield to put the Yankees up 1-0.

But Boston fired right back. Garciaparra extended his hitting streak to 21 games with a first-pitch, two-run homerun off a Clemens breaking ball that didn't break. Garciaparra, notorious for swinging at the first pitch, deposited Clemens' mistake over the Green Monster in left field to give Boston a 2-1 lead. Garciaparra's hitting streak is the longest such streak in the majors this season.

The Yankees tied the score on Alfonso Soriano's RBI single in the third that drove Mondesi home, but Wakefield was stingy for the rest of his time in the game until Mondesi's single in the seventh.

Wakefield (4-2) was charged with the loss after tossing seven innings, allowing just three runs on four hits and two walks while striking out six. It was the knuckle-baller's first loss in his last six starts.

Clemens picked up his sixth victory of the season, pitching six innings while scattering nine hits and a walk for two runs and fanning seven. Mueller's liner hit Clemens with two outs in the sixth. After trainer Gene Monahan and manager Joe Torre evaluated the situation, Clemens finished the inning by striking out Doug Mirabelli.

Chris Hammond replaced Clemens to start the seventh and retired the two batters he faced before giving way to Antonio Osuna. Osuna got Garciaparra to foul out to first to end the inning.

With two outs in the eighth inning Osuna walked Trot Nixon, who was then lifted for pinch runner Damian Jackson. Not wanting to take any chances, Torre called on Mariano Rivera to come in a bit early. Before even throwing a pitch, Rivera picked Jackson off of first to end the inning.

Robin Ventura knocked in Jorge Posada with an RBI double in the ninth inning off of Rudy Seanez – making his Red Sox debut – to give the Yankees an insurance run.

In the ninth inning, things got dramatic. Shea Hillenbrand hit a deep fly ball off of Rivera into center field. Bernie Williams tracked the ball toward right-center, and waved off Mondesi with his glove. But in doing so, Williams failed to catch the ball, and Hillenbrand was safe at second with none out.

With one out and Jeremy Giambi pinch-hitting for Mueller, Giambi lined a ball to shallow left-center field, where Hideki Matsui made a dazzling sliding catch to rob the younger Giambi brother of a base hit. Rivera got Johnny Damon to ground out to end the game.

The Yankees, now back in first place, head home for a four-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays. Game one is Thursday at 7:05 pm. Andy Pettitte (4-4, 4.47) will take the mound for the Yanks to face Toronto ace Roy Halladay (4-2, 4.54).

Notes: Bernie Williams went 0-for-Boston, not getting a hit in 13 at bats in the series. The centerfielder, battling an ailing knee now has just three hits in his last 28 at bats … Wakefield retired 13 in a row at one point before allowing a double to Posada in the seventh … If he stays on schedule, Clemens will go for win number 300 against Boston on Monday. Clemens posted his 200th win while pitching for Toronto in 1997 against the Yankees.

Pinstripes Plus Top Stories