The 22-year-old Sanchez, who was about 3 months old when Clemens
made his major league debut in 1984, outdueled the seven-time Cy
Young Award winner on Friday night to lead the Florida Marlins to a
3-1 victory over the Houston Astros.
Sanchez said he wasn't nervous facing the 43-year-old Clemens.
But he said his wife was probably nervous for him, just like when
he won his major league debut in Yankee Stadium on June 25. Sanchez
said his relatives were monitoring the game on the Internet from
"Today, everybody talked to me because everybody knows who is
Roger Clemens. ... I don't know who was more excited," Sanchez
said. "I'm really happy. ... He's a great pitcher and I have a lot
of respect for him."
Sanchez (2-0) was making his third career start and first at
Dolphin Stadium. He didn't allow a hit until pinch-hitter Willy
Taveras singled to lead off the sixth. Sanchez pitched seven
shutout innings, giving up two hits while striking out two and
Logan Kensing pitched the eighth for the Marlins, and Joe
Borowski earned his 17th save despite allowing a run in the ninth.
The Marlins broke a three-game losing streak, while Houston has
lost three of its last four road games.
Clemens (1-3), making his fifth start of the season, lasted five
innings, giving up two runs and seven hits with seven strikeouts.
"I'm not here to be just OK," Clemens said. "I should have
matched that kid zeros for zeros. ... For me, it's just not
Clemens -- referred to as "Mr. Cy Young" before the game by
Girardi -- entered the game with a 5-0 record against Florida, his
most wins without a loss against any team. Clemens remains at 342
career wins, tied for eighth all-time with Tim Keefe.
Girardi said he instructed his hitters to try to wear down
Clemens by being selective at the plate early in the game. It
appeared that the young Marlins lineup listened to Clemens' former
Clemens threw 53 pitches in the first two innings, and
Abercrombie hit a two-run homer to left on an 0-1 pitch in the
second. It was Abercrombie's fifth homer of the season.
"I threw a flat slider," Clemens said. "Anybody that plays
the game of baseball is going to hit that and hit it hard."
Despite Girardi's strategy, Clemens said he could have thrown
"The only positive I took out of it is that I didn't get winded
or didn't get tired," said Clemens, who threw 107 pitches.
Mike Jacobs went 3-for-3 with two singles and a double. He
entered Thursday's game hitting .356 with seven homers and 17 RBI
in 28 games as the No. 3 hitter.
The Marlins added an insurance run in the eighth on Josh
Willingham's sacrifice fly.
The Astros threatened in the sixth after Taveras singled and
Mike Lamb got a ball past a diving Hanley Ramirez at shortstop.
Sanchez helped himself by starting a double play on a grounder by
Burke to get out of the jam.
"He showed some great athletic ability as a pitcher to get off
the mound," Girardi said. "A lot of pitchers would just go to
first on that."
Second base umpire Rick Reed was back at work Friday, a night
after he left the game with a broken blood vessel in his nose.
Only 13,750 people were at Dolphin Stadium on a clear night to
watch Clemens pitch.
Abercrombie entered the game hitting .217. ... Sanchez was
acquired in an offseason trade that brought Ramirez to Florida and
sent RHP Josh Beckett and 3B Mike Lowell to Boston. ... OF Luke
Scott was available for the Astros after being called up from
Triple-A Round Rock to replace 3B Morgan Ensberg, who went on the
DL with a bruised right shoulder. Scott was leading the Pacific
Coast League with 20 homers ... The Astros turned one double play
to give them 110, tops in the majors.