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Clemens, Yanks One-Hits Mariners
NEW YORK, NY — Roger Clemens put forth perhaps one of the greatest masterpieces in Major League Baseball playoff history. Clemens, who nearly had a perfect game, set a Major League record of 15 strikeouts during a historic one-hit performance, as the New York Yankees blanked the Seattle Mariners 5-0 in game four of the American League Championship series.
The Yankees, now with a commanding 3-1 series lead, will have a chance to advance into the World Series should they defeat the Mariners in game five on Sunday.
Clemens was perfect through the first 6 innings he pitched. Retiring his first 18 batters, eight by strike out. Clemens’ perfect game came to an end in the bottom of the seventh. A single to right field off the glove of Yankee second baseman, Tino Martinez turned into a lead off double to right field by Al Martin in the bottom of the seventh with no outs.
With two out runners on first and second, the Mariners had their best chance to score, but Clemens, on a full 3-2 count, struck Mike Cameron out to retire the side.
Clemens stuck out seven batters in the final three innings of pitching.
Through the first four innings pitched, Paul Abbott himself was as close to perfect by allowing just one hit – a single to Paul O’Neill in the second inning. However, in the fifth a liner to right field by Scott Brosius and a walk to Chuck Knoblauch lead to a two-out, three-run homer to center field by Derek Jeter that gave the Yankees a sound 3-0 lead.
In the top of the eighth, David Justice gave his team even more momentum, as a two-run homer to centerfield with only one out increased the Mariner deficit to 5-0.
Although Abbott allowed just three runs on three hits in five innings of work, he took himself out of the game.
This was undoubtedly Clemens’ finest outing in the playoffs to date. Clemens was responsible for the both the Yanks losses that forced the Yankees to a fifth and decisive final game against the Oakland Athletics in the American League. Wild Card.
In addition, Clemens was not the same ordinary pitcher that won just 13 games during the regular season. Clemens resembled the same pitcher who just several years ago won back-to-back, Cy Young Awards with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Let’s see if Clemens can dominate should the Yankees advance to World Series.
Cardinals Avoid Sweep, Pounds Mets In each of the previous three games of the National League Championship series between the New York Mets and the St. Louis Cardinals, the road team, having scored two runs during the top half of the first inning, has managed to emerge victorious. Having lost the first two games at home, the Cardinals strapped on their road jersey’s and kept themselves alive by pounding the Mets 8-2 in game three of the National League Championship series in New York on Saturday.
Similar to what the Mets did in the top of the first in St. Louis, the Cardinals, thanks to a two-RBI double to the leftfield corner by Jim Edmonds with nobody out, gave the Cardinals an early 2-0 lead.
With runners on first and third, the Cardinals could do no more because, Mets, behind starting Rick Reed’s three strikeouts to retire the side managed to cut the lead 2-1. That was as close as the game was.
In the top of the third with runners on first and second with only one out, Ray Lankford’s RBI single to rightfield, followed by Fernando Tatis’ RBI sacrifice fly to rightfield increased the Cardinals lead to 4-1.
In the top of the forth, Edgar Renteria’s broken bat single to leftfield brought home starting pitcher, Andy Benes, diving into home plate all the way from second base. The Cardinals lead 5-1.
Reed last just 3 1/3 innings, allowing five runs on eight hits.
The Mets managed to lead the bases in the bottom half of the fourth with no outs, but Jay Payton grounded into a double play. Ventura scored the Mets second and final run of the game.
The Cardinals, after having loaded the bases in the fifth, scored three runs and went on to pound the Mets to avoid the possibility of getting swept.
For the Cards, Benes lasted 8 innings, allowing just two runs on six hits, walking three batters, but struck out five.