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Red Sox pound Clemens, then hold on

5/25/2002

BOSTON (AP) -- Carlos Baerga finally heard the cheers instead of
leading them.

Baerga, who dances and hugs teammates in the dugout, hit a
sacrifice fly in the 11th inning, giving the Boston Red Sox a 9-8
win Friday night after they pounded Roger Clemens before
squandering a six-run lead over the New York Yankees.

"I enjoy every minute, every at bat,'' Baerga said. "It was
awesome. Everybody said it can't happen to a better person.''

He wasn't boasting, just confirming what teammates have said
about him since he signed as a free agent last December after
spending two years out of the majors. He spent most of his career
with Cleveland and the New York Mets.

"It's cool,'' said Boston starter John Burkett, who gave up four runs in six innings. "It's amazing the enthusiasm he brings
to the game every night whether he's playing or not.''

Rickey Henderson, another veteran who has had big seasons,
started the winning rally with a headfirst slide for an infield
single and ended it with a feet-first slide as center fielder
Bernie Williams' throw after catching Baerga's liner hit the mound
and went to the first-base side.

Yankees manager Joe Torre thought Henderson left third early.

"I don't believe an outfielder is throwing me out so I don't
have to leave early,'' Henderson said.

Henderson had singled off Steve Karsay (1-2) and moved to second
on Shea Hillenbrand's fourth hit of the game, a single to left.
They moved up on Trot Nixon's sacrifice bunt before Jason Varitek
was walked intentionally, loading the bases.

Baerga, playing in just his 20th game, had been 1-for-5 as the
designated hitter before his liner to medium center field scored
Henderson.

"I tried to get Baerga to hit a groundball,'' Karsay said after
allowing his first run in nine outings. "I was ahead 0-2 and threw
a splitter down. It was a quality pitch. He did a great job getting
the ball in the air.''

The Yankees came back from an 8-2 deficit to tie the game with
five runs in the seventh and one in the eighth after Clemens lasted
just 3 2/3 innings, allowing seven runs, five earned, and nine
hits.

"I had good movement and felt fine physically. My slider was
flat,'' he said.

Rolando Arrojo (3-1), Boston's sixth pitcher, threw two perfect
innings.

The Red Sox' second straight win over the Yankees and fifth in
six games this season gave them a three-game lead over New York in
the AL East and assured them of at least a split of the four-game
series. The Yankees lost their third in a row.

Boston's 32-13 record is the best in the majors and Nomar
Garciaparra drove in four runs with a homer, two singles and a
sacrifice fly. He increased his RBI total to 38, fourth in the AL.

With Boston ahead 8-2, Alfonso Soriano led off the seventh with
his 12th homer of the year and Derek Jeter singled. Casey Fossum
replaced Burkett and allowed a single to Williams before retiring
the next two batters. He walked Robin Ventura, loading the bases,
and was replaced by Rich Garces.

Shane Spencer walked to make it 8-4, Rondell White singled in
two runs and Nick Johnson singled in another before Garces retired
Soriano.

Knuckleballer Tim Wakefield pitched the eighth when walks to
Williams and Jason Giambi, two passed balls and a sacrifice fly by
Jorge Posada tied the game.

"Our team learned a lot about themselves, the way we fought
back,'' Torre said.

Clemens' outing was his shortest in 62 starts since he left a
game against Boston on June 14, 2000, after one inning with a groin
injury. Friday's appearance was his shortest in 97 starts in games
not curtailed by injury since he went 2 2/3 innings against the New
York Mets on June 6, 1999.

Every Boston batter reached base by the fifth inning and the Red
Sox led 6-0 after three.

Giambi's 11th homer made it 6-1 in the fourth Burkett before
Garciaparra singled home Boston's seventh run in the bottom of the
inning. Williams' RBI single made it 7-2 in the fifth before
Garciaparra's sixth homer in the sixth.

Clemens had allowed four of Boston's first five hitters to reach
base. Johnny Damon walked and stole second. After Jose Offerman
struck out, Garciaparra singled home Damon. Garciaparra went to
third on a single by Brian Daubach and scored on a single by
Hillenbrand. The third run scored on Nixon's groundout.

Boston made it 5-0 in the second after Baerga singled, Rey
Sanchez flied out and Damon walked. Offerman grounded to third
baseman Ventura, who threw the ball past second baseman Soriano for
an error, allowing Baerga to score. Garciaparra then hit a
sacrifice fly.

Hillenbrand's single and Nixon's double gave the Red Sox a 6-0
lead in the third.

Game notes
Jeter extended his hitting streak to 15 games. ... The seven
runs were the most Clemens allowed in 10 starts after giving up
eight on opening day at Baltimore. The nine hits were the most in
17 starts since Texas had nine against him in six innings last Aug.
20. ... Burkett had a season-high seven strikeouts, all in the
first three innings. ... The crowd of 34,175 was the first to
exceed 34,000 at Fenway since April 11, 1997.