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Shea-Hey: Mets Beat Clemens

September 03, 1997|From Associated Press

NEW YORK — As a hitter, Roger Clemens was nearly perfect. As a pitcher, he had big problems.

Clemens, starting at Shea Stadium for the first time since the Bill Buckner game in the 1986 World Series, was tagged for a season-high seven runs Tuesday night and the New York Mets defeated the Toronto Blue Jays, 8-5.

"It was definitely an interesting game," Clemens said. "It will definitely go down as one of the stranger ones."

Rey Ordonez hit his first homer of the season and drove in three runs, two with bunts, as the Mets won their fourth in a row. After defeating Jimmy Key and Pat Hentgen the previous two days, they added Clemens (20-5) to their hit list.

"It's a great challenge to face him," said Carlos Baerga, who doubled twice off Clemens. "He intimidates people. You have to do the little things to beat him."

Clemens is 20-2 against AL teams, but dropped to 0-3 in interleague play as the Blue Jays lost their fifth in a row. Jose Cruz Jr. homered twice and drove in three runs for Toronto.

Clemens got on base all three times he batted by doubling, walking and reaching on an error. But he lasted only six innings on a humid, 82-degree evening, and his AL-leading earned-run average climbed from 1.73 to 1.92.

Instead of tying the Toronto record for victories set by Jack Morris in 1992, Clemens matched a season-worst by giving up 10 hits and his most runs since permitting seven on Aug. 1, 1996, while pitching for Boston against Kansas City.

"I'd much rather have a better day on the mound than at the plate," he said.

Clemens doubled off the right-field wall and scored Toronto's first run in the third inning, and his hard grounder off Baerga's glove at second base produced the Blue Jays' next run in the fourth. The three-time Cy Young winner walked in the sixth.

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