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Johnson completes Yanks' late rally

6/10/2002

NEW YORK (AP) -- Roger Clemens didn't give Barry Bonds anything
to swing at. Instead, the Yankees ace hit him -- just as he hinted --
and left San Francisco Giants manager Dusty Baker questioning the
pitcher's courage.

"I've got a lot of respect for Roger as a pitcher,'' Baker
said. "What do they call him, the Rocket? Maybe Roger the Dodger,
that's good enough.''

Clemens plunked Bonds with a pitch on his protective arm guard
and walked him three times as New York pitched around the slugger
all afternoon and beat the Giants 4-2 Sunday.

The tasty matchup of future Hall of Famers -- the best hitter of
this generation facing perhaps its most dominant pitcher for the
first time in the regular season -- was a letdown for fans. Clemens
got his 288th career victory while Bonds took only two swings.

Clemens (8-2) came inside with a third-inning fastball that hit
Bonds' large plastic arm guard just above the elbow. Bonds stood at
home plate for a bit with a sly smirk before heading to first base.

Clemens had said he might throw inside to Bonds and wanted to
"even things out'' by getting him to take his armor off.

"He's right up on top of the plate,'' Clemens said. "That
elbow guard is almost sticking in the zone, so it's tough.''

Bonds did not talk to reporters after the game, but Baker had a
comment on Clemens' actions.

"You can be bold over here in the American League and get away
with it,'' he said.

Clemens is scheduled to make his next start on Saturday against
the New York Mets at Shea Stadium. It would mark the first time
Clemens has to bat against the Mets since beaning Mike Piazza and
later throwing the barrel of a broken bat in his path in 2000.

Bonds drew four walks, tying a major league record with three
intentional passes in a nine-inning game. He reached base in 11 of
14 plate appearances in the series.

"I'm not here to entertain people, I'm here to try to win
ballgames,'' Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "I said we'll pitch
to him, but if there's a base open and the game is in the balance,
I'm walking him.''

Nick Johnson's two-out, two-run double off closer Robb Nen in
the eighth inning gave the Yankees a 3-2 lead, and Rondell White
followed with an RBI single. New York took two of three in the
interleague series.

Bonds came to the plate with a runner on first and two outs in
the ninth, bringing the Yankee Stadium crowd of 55,335 to its feet.
But after reliever Steve Karsay fell behind 3-1, he walked Bonds
intentionally to put the tying run on base.

"When it got to 3-1, I ran out of guts,'' Torre said.

Benito Santiago then hit a short-hop shot to third baseman
Enrique Wilson, who made a nice stab and got a forceout to end it.

One day after launching a Ruthian home run 20 rows deep into the
right-field upper deck, Bonds didn't get much to hit.

The first two times Bonds was intentionally walked, he tossed
the guard away after two pitches.

When Russ Ortiz threw high to Jason Giambi in the bottom of the
third, plate umpire Joe West warned both dugouts, bringing an
argument from Baker.

"We certainly knew what he was going to do. And then when he
does it and we get the warning, that's not right,'' Baker said.

The sellout crowd was buzzing when Bonds stepped to the plate to
face Clemens in the first inning. But the fans booed when the
Rocket walked him on five pitches, and by the seventh inning, when
Bonds came up with two outs and an open base, they were booing
before he even got near the plate, knowing he would be
intentionally passed.

"Look, there's no question there's no greater theater than the
pitcher against the hitter,'' Torre said. "The 1-on-1 is great.
But those people booing, I'd like to poll them and ask if they'd
rather go home with a victory or having seen Barry beat us with a
homer.''

Clemens gave up two runs and seven hits in eight innings to win
his seventh straight decision and tie Tommy John for 21st place on
the career victory list.

Clemens struck out nine and threw a season-high 130 pitches. He
did not walk a batter besides Bonds.

With Mariano Rivera unavailable because of a sore groin, Karsay
pitched the ninth for his second save.

Ortiz limited New York's powerful lineup to three hits in seven
innings, and Rich Aurilia's RBI double gave the Giants a 2-1 lead
in the fifth.

Felix Rodriguez (1-3) walked Giambi leading off the eighth, and
Jorge Posada singled with two outs. Nen relieved and Johnson drove
a 1-2 pitch over the head of center fielder Tsuyoshi Shinjo. It was
Nen's third blown save in 19 chances.

Bonds walked with two outs in the first, went to third on Benito
Santiago's double and scored on a wild pitch.

Game notes
Bonds, often criticized for his attitude, was a big hit
with early-arriving fans. He greeted folks in the front row by the
San Francisco dugout during batting practice and signed autographs
for nearly 10 minutes. ... San Francisco 2B Jeff Kent did not play
because of a sore toe. ... The Yankees begin a World Series rematch
with Arizona on Monday night. Randy Johnson is scheduled to pitch
for the Diamondbacks. ... New York placed OF Juan Rivera on the
15-day disabled list with a fractured right kneecap.