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Clemens Ties Record With 17th Win in Row

April 22, 1999| From Associated Press

Roger Clemens showed the Texas Rangers why they spent most of the off-season pursuing him.

Clemens tied the American League record with his 17th consecutive victory, allowing four hits in 7 1/3 innings Wednesday night in the Yankees' 4-2 victory over the Rangers at New York.

"I'm glad I did it here in front of these fans," Clemens said. "I don't know if that is part of the reason it has seemed so tough to pitch recently. But it was a battle out there."

Derek Jeter hit a two-run homer and Chili Davis had a solo shot off Rick Helling (0-3) to help give Clemens a share of the record.

Clemens (2-0) hasn't lost since May 29 to Seattle, tying the AL record set by Cleveland's Johnny Allen in 1936-37 and tied by Baltimore's Dave McNally in 1968-69.

Clemens can break the record next week in his home state of Texas against the Rangers.

"It's not something I think about much," said Clemens, who did save a ball from the game to keep with other mementos from his record-setting career. "But I'll bask in it in the winter when it is all completed."

Carl Hubbell of the New York Giants set the major league record of 24 in 1936-37.

Clemens missed a chance to tie the record last week against Baltimore, allowing seven runs in three-plus innings. He ended up with a no-decision as New York lost 9-7.

"Six days was a long time to think about avenging that last performance," Clemens said. "I still have a lot of work to do. I can't continue walking that many guys. I have to pitch inside more effectively."

Clemens left to a standing ovation after striking out Juan Gonzalez, his sixth of the game. Mike Stanton and Jeff Nelson each got an out in the eighth and Mariano Rivera pitched the ninth for his second save.

"He struggled tonight," Yankees interim Manager Don Zimmer said of Clemens. "When I took him out he said, 'Nothing comes easy anymore.' That's the sign of a great pitcher. You don't win five Cy Youngs by not winning games without your best stuff."

Detroit 9, Boston 2--Dean Palmer broke out of a slump with two home runs and five RBIs for the Tigers at Detroit.

Palmer, who signed a five-year, $36-million free-agent contract with Detroit last November, was batting only .196.

"I've been trying to do too much," said Palmer. "It's wanting to do something almost too much to where it has a negative impact on you."

"Hopefully I can feed off this and get something going. It's tough to go out there and struggle."

Tony Clark and Palmer hit back-to-back homers in a four-run seventh for Detroit, which had a season-high 15 hits. Frank Catalanotto also homered as the Tigers won for the fourth time in their last five games.

Brian Moehler (2-2) ended a personal two-game losing streak. Tim Wakefield (1-2) lost his second consecutive start.

Tiger pitchers have allowed two runs or fewer in five consecutive games.

"Our pitching staff has been great," Palmer said. "I think it's the hitters who have not been doing our part. When you've got guys going out there giving up just one or two runs and you don't win, it's tough."

Tampa Bay 14, Baltimore 8--Oriole ace Mike Mussina was pounded for 10 runs and 11 hits in 3 2/3 innings, and Jose Canseco hit two home runs at St. Petersburg, Fla., as the Devil Rays sent the Orioles to their fifth consecutive loss.

At 3-11, Baltimore matched its second-worst start, ahead of only the 1988 team, which began with 21 consecutive losses. The Orioles' three wins came in games started by Mussina.

Mussina (2-1) was chased after allowing six runs during a seven-run fourth that put Tampa Bay ahead, 11-4. It was the most earned runs off Mussina in 227 career starts and his shortest outing since a three-inning stint at New York on Sept. 2, 1997.

Tampa Bay starter Bryan Rekar (2-0) allowed six runs--three earned--and eight hits in 6 2/3 innings.

Cleveland 5, Oakland 4--Richie Sexson hit a game-tying, two-run homer in the ninth inning and pinch-runner Jolbert Cabrera scored from first on a throwing error as the Indians prevailed at Cleveland.

The Indians, who started to come back from a 4-0 deficit with consecutive solo homers by Roberto Alomar and Manny Ramirez in the eighth, have won 11 of 12 and at 11-2 matched their best start since 1966.

Sandy Alomar singled and was replaced by Cabrera in the ninth. Kenny Lofton laid down a bunt in front of the plate, but after picking up the ball, catcher A.J. Hinch threw wide of first and the ball rolled all the way into the right-field corner.

By the time Cabrera rounded third, most of the Indians already were on their way to home plate to meet him.

Steve Reed (1-0) pitched one inning for the win. Billy Taylor (0-1) took the loss.

Ben Grieve hit a three-run homer and Tony Phillips had a solo shot for the Athletics, who have lost five of six on the road.

Chicago 2, Seattle 1--Frank Thomas drove in two runs with a fielder's choice in the eighth inning for the White Sox at Chicago.

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