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Clemens Gets Walkover on Bonds

June 10, 2002|From Associated Press

NEW YORK — Roger Clemens didn't give Barry Bonds anything to swing at Sunday. Instead, the Yankee ace hit him--just as he hinted--and left San Francisco Giant Manager Dusty Baker questioning the pitcher's courage.

"I've got a lot of respect for Roger as a pitcher," Baker said. "What do they call him, the Rocket? Maybe Roger the Dodger, that's good enough."

Clemens plunked Bonds with a pitch on his protective arm guard and walked him three times as the Yankees pitched around the slugger and defeated the Giants, 4-2.

The matchup of future Hall of Famers--perhaps the best hitter of this generation facing perhaps its most dominant pitcher for the first time in the regular season--was a letdown for fans. Clemens got his 288th career victory; Bonds took only two swings.

Clemens (8-2) came inside with a third-inning fastball that hit Bonds' large plastic arm guard just above the elbow. Bonds stood at the plate for a bit with a smirk before heading to first base.

Clemens had said he might throw inside to Bonds and wanted to "even things out" by getting him to take his armor off.

"He's right up on top of the plate," Clemens said. "That elbow guard is almost sticking in the zone, so it's tough."

Bonds did not talk to reporters after the game, but Baker had a comment on Clemens' actions.

"You can be bold over here in the American League and get away with it," he said.

Clemens is scheduled to make his next start Saturday against the New York Mets at Shea Stadium. It would mark the first time Clemens has to bat against the Mets since beaning Mike Piazza and later throwing the barrel of a broken bat in his path during the 2000 World Series.

Bonds drew four walks, tying a major league record with three intentional walks in a nine-inning game. He reached base in 11 of 14 plate appearances in the series.

"I'm not here to entertain people, I'm here to try to win ballgames," Yankee Manager Joe Torre said. "I said we'll pitch to him, but if there's a base open and the game is in the balance, I'm walking him."

Nick Johnson's two-out, two-run double against closer Robb Nen in the eighth inning gave the Yankees a 3-2 lead, and Rondell White followed with a run-scoring single. New York took two of three in the interleague series.

Bonds came to the plate with a runner on first and two out in the ninth, bringing the Yankee Stadium crowd of 55,335 to its feet. But after reliever Steve Karsay fell behind on the count 3-and-1, he walked Bonds intentionally to put the tying run on base.

"When it got to 3-1, I ran out of guts," Torre said.

Benito Santiago then hit a short-hop shot to third baseman Enrique Wilson, who made a nice play and got a forceout for the third out.

One day after hitting a home run 20 rows deep into the right-field upper deck, Bonds didn't get much to hit.

The first two times he was intentionally walked, he tossed the guard away after two pitches.

When Russ Ortiz threw high to Jason Giambi in the bottom of the third, plate umpire Joe West warned both dugouts, bringing an argument from Baker.

The sellout crowd was buzzing when Bonds stepped to the plate to face Clemens in the first inning. But the fans booed when he walked him on five pitches, and by the seventh inning, when Bonds came up with two out and an open base, they were booing before he even got near the plate, knowing he would be walked intentionally.

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