Rocket Implodes, 300 Will Have To Wait

Roger Clemens took the mound on Monday afternoon wearing a glove that had a "300" patch on the wrist to commemorate his attempt at 300 wins. But Boston manager Grady Little had other ideas. Before Clemens could even throw a pitch, Little protested the use of the multi-colored glove, and the umpires asked Clemens to remove it. The Rocket did so, and then went on to give up eight runs as Boston rolled over the Yankees 8-4.

Not even a 102-minute rain delay could beat down the excitement surrounding Clemens' first attempt at making even more history. But the excitement soon faded when Clemens started giving up runs.

Shea Hillenbrand was the first to get to The Rocket, knocking an RBI single to right field that scored Manny Ramirez. Clemens struck out the next two batters to kill the rally, but the floodgates had been opened.

After a wild pitch moved runners to second and third with just one out in the third inning, Clemens was forced to intentionally walk Ramirez to load the bases. With the bags full of Red Sox, Clemens uncharacteristically walked Trot Nixon to bring in a run. Kevin Millar hit a sac fly to bring the score to 3-0, and things were starting to look ugly.

The breaks kept on going Boston's way. In the fourth inning, Bill Mueller scored on Todd Walker's groundout, and Doug Mirabelli came around on Clemens' wild pitch. All of a sudden the Yankees were down by five and they hadn't even gotten a hit off of Boston's Tim Wakefield. And to make matters worse, Clemens' pitch count was alarmingly high.

Finally, in the bottom of the fourth, the Yankees starting churning out some runs. But it wasn't pretty. One run scored on Juan Rivera's RBI double to cut Boston's lead to four runs. Todd Zeile next grounded the ball sharply to second. Todd Walker fielded the ball but threw it wide to first base. Zeile was credited with an infield single and an RBI, and Rivera came around to score on the error.

With that glimmer of hope, Clemens stayed in the game and struck out the side in the fifth inning. But all hope for win number 300 faded in the sixth inning, when Clemens allowed three more runs and had to give way to Antonio Osuna. Leaving the game without a lead, Clemens guaranteed that his quest for 300 would continue in his next start.

The Yanks tacked on a run in seventh off of Robert Person, but would get no closer.

Tim Wakefield (5-2) grabbed a win, avenging a loss to the Yankees and Clemens in his last start. Wakefield pitched five innings, allowing three runs on four hits and six walks while striking out four.

Clemens (6-3) was charged with the loss and his ERA rose to 3.71 in the process – it was 2.92 entering the game. The Rocket allowed 10 hits and two walks through 5 2/3 innings, allowing all eight runs and striking out nine. Antonio Osuna and Jason Anderson relieved him and pitched well, continuing the bullpen's quality performance over the last few days. The two combined to throw 3 1/3 scoreless innings, and Osuna lowered his ERA to 1.93.

Joe Torre's new-look lineup – in the absence of Bernie Williams and Nick Johnson – failed to produce. With the top of the order going Jeter, Matsui, Soriano, the Yankees mustered just five hits as a team, significantly less than Boston's 14.

Clemens will try for career victory number 300 again in his next start, scheduled for Sunday against the Detroit Tigers.

Andy Pettitte (4-5, 5.28) will attempt to end the Yankees five-game losing skid Tuesday in game two of the three-game series with Boston. Bruce Chen (0-0, 3.68) will attempt to increase Boston's lead in the AL East to three and a half games when he takes the hill for the Red Sox, starting for the injured Pedro Martinez.

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