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Yanks take two of three in weekend series

9/1/2003

BOSTON (AP) -- Roger Clemens walked off to a standing ovation and
came out for a curtain call, tipping his cap and waving to fans who
saw what may have been his last pitch at Fenway Park.

"It was very special," he said. "It gave me the opportunity
to say thank you."

And it gave Boston fans, who often booed Clemens after he left
Boston following the 1996 season, a chance to show appreciation
even though the New York Yankees were on their way to an 8-4 win
Sunday over the Red Sox.

"It was exciting and that's what it should have been," Jason
Giambi said. "The reason why they boo him is because they miss
him. And Boston fans are just like New York fans. They love great
players."

The victory was the 100th for Clemens at Fenway Park, where he
wore the home uniform from 1984-96, compiling a 192-111 mark for
Boston. He plans to retire after this season and could pitch again
in Boston, where he is 100-55 in 199 regular-season starts, only if
the teams meet in the playoffs.

The win boosted the Yankees to a 5{-game lead over the Red Sox
in the AL East, although they lost Derek Jeter, probably for at
least three games, with a rib cage injury.

After losing Friday's opener of the three-game series and
trailing Pedro Martinez 3-0 Saturday, the Yankees took two of
three.

"It's nice in that they're obviously the team chasing us,"
Aaron Boone said, but "we've got to continue to play well this
month and if we do we'll be where we want to be."

Clemens (13-8) struck out three, walked two and allowed four
runs on six hits in 6 2-3 innings. He left after throwing 112
pitches, the last a ball that walked Gabe Kapler to load the bases
with two outs in the seventh.

Then came the cheers.

"I've always had great fans when I pitched here," Clemens
said. "When I walk around town here, I still have a ton of
friends."

He rebounded from a 13-2 loss Tuesday to the Chicago White Sox
in which he allowed four homers and nine runs. On Sunday, he got
plenty of support with a three-run first inning.

"I don't think he had his best stuff," Boston's Todd Walker
said. "But Roger at 75 to 80 percent is better than anyone out
there."

Boston threatened in the ninth, loading the bases against Jeff
Nelson on singles by David McCarty and Lou Merloni and a two-out
walk to Jason Varitek. But Mariano Rivera got his 31st save in 37
chances when he struck out Nomar Garciaparra, who went 0-for-5.

"As dismal as that game looked," Kevin Millar said, "we still
had a chance to tie it up in the ninth. This offense never quits."

The loss dropped Boston 1{ games behind Seattle in the wild-card
race after the Mariners' 3-0 win over Baltimore.

Yankees manager Joe Torre said Jeter strained his left rib cage
reaching to hit a ball in the fifth inning. He left after his
seventh-inning single. Torre said Jeter probably would miss at
least the three-game series against Toronto starting Monday.

The Red Sox were more short-handed.

They played their third straight game without left fielder Manny
Ramirez, sidelined with a throat infection. Center fielder Johnny
Damon also missed the game after being shaken up Saturday in a
collision with Gabe Kapler, who had filled in for Ramirez in left.

Manager Grady Little said Ramirez and Damon would be in
Philadelphia for Monday's makeup game with the Phillies.

On Sunday, Kapler took Damon's spot in center and struggled
there in the fifth when New York made it 5-2.

Jeter singled and went to second when Kapler bobbled the ball.
Nick Johnson then singled in Jeter. After a double play, Bernie
Williams walked and scored when Hideki Matsui's fly to deep
left-center hit off Kapler's glove for his second error.

The Yankees took a 3-0 lead in the first on RBI singles by
Williams, Jorge Posada and Aaron Boone. They came after
knuckleballer Tim Wakefield (9-6) hit Johnson with a pitch and
walked Giambi after getting 0-2 counts on both.

The Red Sox made it 3-2 in the third after a single by McCarty
and a double by Doug Mirabelli put runners at second and third. One
run scored on a passed ball charged to Posada. The other came in on
Walker's single.

Clemens retired 11 of the next 12 batters before Trot Nixon
walked and McCarty singled in the seventh. Mirabelli struck out,
but Kapler walked and Antonio Osuna replaced Clemens.

Bill Mueller singled to center for two runs, making it 8-4, but
Varitek flied out.

Game notes
Wakefield faced Clemens two other times this season --
losing on May 21 at Fenway when Clemens won his 299th career game
and winning on May 26 at Yankee Stadium. Clemens got his 300th win
and 4,000th strikeout June 13 against St. Louis. ... The Yankees
have the best road record in the majors, 44-24. ... Giambi is
hitless in his last 20 at-bats after going 0-for-4.