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BASEBALL EXTRA | ROUNDUP

Clemens Strikes Out 10, Stays Unbeaten

May 06, 1997|From Associated Press

Roger Clemens didn't strike out 20 Detroit batters this time, but he still was very good.

Clemens pitched a five-hitter and improved to 5-0 as the Blue Jays defeated the Tigers, 3-1, Monday night at Toronto.

Clemens, who tied his own major-league record with 20 strikeouts against the Tigers last Sept. 18 when he was pitching for Boston, struck out 10 this time and didn't walk a batter.

"He wasn't as good as we saw him in Detroit last season, but he was pretty close," Detroit Manager Buddy Bell said.

After a two-out double by Bobby Higginson in the third, Clemens retired 13 consecutive batters before Damon Easley singled in the eighth.

Clemens is off to his best start since 1991, when he won his first six decisions. He started 14-0 in 1986.

"I feel blessed and fortunate to be off to such a good start," said Clemens, whose AL-best earned-run average dropped to 1.58. "Now, if we can get the hitting going, there are going to be a lot of smiles in this clubhouse."

Clemens, who was 3-0 against the Tigers last season, struck out at least 10 for the 69th time in his career.

Melvin Nieves' RBI triple put Detroit ahead, 1-0, in the second inning, but Toronto moved ahead, 2-1, in the fifth on a two-run double by Carlos Garcia. The Blue Jays made it 3-1 in the eighth on Joe Carter's sacrifice fly.

Loser Omar Olivares (1-2) gave up three runs on seven hits in 7 1/3 innings.

Clemens got strong support from the Blue Jay defense.

With Bobby Higginson on second and two out in the third inning, Toronto second baseman Carlos Garcia ranged far to his right to field a hard grounder by Travis Fryman. Garcia, on his knees, then threw out Fryman to end the inning.

Right fielder Orlando Merced threw Jody Reed out at first after Reed hit a hard liner to right in the fifth, and Otis Nixon made a spectacular leaping catch at the wall in center to rob Higginson of extra bases in the ninth.

"Carlos made a great play just getting to that ball. Then he threw him out," Clemens said. "And Otis, well, I've seen him make that catch before and there aren't too many guys who can run it down the way he can."

20 batters.

Minnesota 9, New York 8--Matt Lawton singled home the go-ahead run in the seventh inning at New York as the Twins rallied from four runs down to win for only the second time in 12 games.

The Twins trailed, 5-1, entering the fifth before homering their way back into it. Pat Meares and Chuck Knoblauch hit back-to-back shots in the fifth, and Terry Steinbach tied the score, 5-5, with a homer in the sixth.

"It certainly was a good game for us," Minnesota Manager Tom Kelly said. "We got down and came back by hitting a couple of balls over the fence, which we haven't done in a long, long time."

After Minnesota took a 9-5 lead, Derek Jeter hit a three-run homer off Rick Aguilera with one out in the ninth. Mariano Duncan then struck out but reached on a wild pitch. Pinch-runner Pat Kelly stole second as Mark Whiten fanned and Tim Raines flied out to center for the final out.

Minnesota hit three homers in a game for the first time this season.

Kansas City 2, Boston 0--Kevin Appier pitched his third complete game of the season and Jay Bell drove in both runs with a homer and sacrifice fly to lead the Royals at Boston.

Appier (4-1) gave up five hits, walked one and struck out seven for his 10th career shutout.

The Red Sox threatened only once. Boston had runners on first and third with two outs in the third inning before Appier retired Bill Haselman on a bunt.

Appier is off to his best start since going 11-2 in 1995.

"It's how you use your stuff," Appier said. "We talked about using the fastball more in spring training--just having more confidence in it and I think it's paid off."

Chris Hammond (1-1), who pitched his third consecutive strong game since joining the rotation after Tim Wakefield's elbow injury, gave up seven hits and two runs over eight innings.

Texas at Cleveland--The game between the Rangers and Indians was rained out, the fourth postponed game for Texas this season. A makeup date was not immediately announced.

Monday's scheduled pitchers, Orel Hershisher (2-0) will pitch for Cleveland tonight and Roger Pavlik (2-2) will pitch for Texas.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

BESTS OF THE DAY

BATTING

Player: Jeromy Burnitz

Team: Milwaukee

Performance: 3 for 4, 3 RBIs, 2 runs, home run

Team's Result: Win

*

Player: Pat Meares

Team: Minnesota

Performance: 3 for 5, 3 RBIs, double, home run

Team's Result: Win

*

Player: Tom Goodwin

Team: Kansas City

Performance: 2 for 3, 1 run, single, double

Team's Result: Win

*

Player: Tino Martinez

Team: New York

Performance: 3 for 4, 3 runs, 1 RBI, home run

Team's Result: Loss

PITCHING

Player: Roger Clemens

Team: Toronto

Performance: 9 innings, 1 run, 5 hits, 10 strikeouts

Team's Result: Win

*

Player: Kevin Appier

Team: Kansas City

Performance: 9 innings, 5 hits, 0 runs, 7 strikeouts

Team's Result: Win

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