DETROIT (AP) -- The Yankees' magic number for their fifth
straight AL East title is down to one, not that there's much
Alfonso Soriano drove in his 100th run to back Roger Clemens as the Yankees beat the Detroit Tigers 5-1 Friday night."Nothing is inevitable, we still have some business to take
care of,'' said Derek Jeter, who had two RBI. "You can't
celebrate until you win it. We just want to win and not worry about
somebody having to lose.''New York was prevented from clinching its eighth straight
postseason berth because second-place Boston won 4-2 at Baltimore.
The Yankees, who had lost four of six, have a nine-game lead over
the Red Sox with nine games remaining.
Clemens (13-6) allowed one run, five hits and five walks in six
innings, getting his 293rd career win. Clemens was hit on the left
shin in the sixth by Mike Rivera's hard comebacker, but stayed in
and escaped a bases-loaded jam by retiring three straight batters."There's obviously some swelling,'' said Clemens, who walked
away from Comerica Park with a limp. "But it's all right.'' Detroit (54-99) has lost 23 of last 28 and is one defeat from
its first 100-loss season since going 53-109 in 1996. The Tigers
are finishing their ninth straight losing season."It's disappointing,'' Carlos Pena said. "We had (Clemens), but we just couldn't get him. He still slipped out and got the victory.''Soriano, who hit a leadoff double in the fourth and scored on Jeter's single, reached 100 RBI with a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded in the fifth."I was very proud of him,'' Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "He waited for his pitch and hit it straight away. That was textbook.''The second baseman also turned an inning-ending double play with
two on in the fifth, diving to his right to catch Omar Infante's
liner. From his knees, Soriano tossed the ball to Jeter at second,
doubling up Andres Torres."He's just a great athlete,'' Jeter said.Soriano needs one homer to become the fourth player in major
league history to have 40 homers and 40 steals in a season. Robert Fick hit Clemens' first pitch in the sixth over the
right-field fence for his 17th homer. After giving up a single to
Pena and the comebacker to Rivera, Clemens walked Eric Munson on four pitches.Torre and assistant trainer Steve Donohue came to the mound -- along with the rest of the infield -- but Clemens remained in the game. He struck out Craig Monroe on three pitches, retired Torres on a
popout and fanned Chris Truby. Clemens pumped his fist and smacked
his hand in his glove as he walked off the mound."He was certainly determined,'' Torre said. "After telling the
manager he was OK, he had to prove it.''Rookie Andy Van Hekken (1-2) gave up three runs -- two earned -- and nine hits in 6 2/3 innings.
1B Jason Giambi was held out because of a stiff back and is
day to day. ... The Yankees expect RHP Mariano Rivera to pitch or Saturday or Sunday. Rivera has been on the DL with a strained right shoulder since Aug. 19 and was on the DL with the same injury from
July 26-Aug. 8. ... The game started after a rain delay of 1 hour,
57 minutes. ... According to the Elias Sports Bureau, if LHP Andy Pettitte (11-5) wins one more game, he will be the first pitcher n the post-expansion era to win 12 or more games in his first eight season. ... Pena singled in the sixth to extend his hitting streak to a career-high 11 games, which broke a three-way tie among AL
rookies. ... Detroit reliever Matt Anderson, on the DL since May 19
because of a shoulder injury, was activated. Anderson gave up one hit, one walk and struck out one in the eighth. ... Soriano has 97 RBI in the leadoff spot and needs four more as a leadoff hitter to break the major league record set by Anaheim's Darrin Erstad in 2000.