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Clemens, Rivera thwart Red Sox

Starter outpitches Beckett, and reliever secures final four outs in a 4-3 win that cuts AL East deficit to six.

August 30, 2007|From the Associated Press

NEW YORK -- More than a decade after bolting from Boston, Roger Clemens left the Red Sox scratching their heads.

Clemens, 45, shut down his original team, giving up only two hits and outpitching an ace 18 years younger than him in the New York Yankees' 4-3 victory over the Red Sox on Wednesday night.

"I was trying to be as stingy as possible," Clemens said. "It's going to be a grind for me. I'm asking my body to be 25 right now."

Alex Rodriguez hit his major league-leading 44th home run and the Yankees got another big hit from Johnny Damon to earn their second consecutive win in the series. New York trimmed Boston's cushion to six games in the AL East and moved to within a percentage point of Seattle for the wild-card lead.

"It's nice when things matter," Clemens said. "We've still got a lot of work to do."

Josh Beckett was tagged for a career-high 13 hits by the Yankees, who turned to Mariano Rivera in the eighth inning for a four-out save.

Clemens (6-5) held the Red Sox hitless until David Ortiz's upper-deck homer with one out in the sixth. He worked around a season-high five walks and improved to 9-5 with a 3.73 earned-run average in his career against Boston.

"Nothing around the plate to hit, always on the corners, changed speeds pretty well," Boston's Dustin Pedroia said. "We had guys on, we just didn't get the big hit."

Kevin Youkilis also homered for the Red Sox, who played without injured star Manny Ramirez. The slugger sat out because of a strained muscle on his left side and probably will be sidelined for several days.

Rodriguez hit a solo homer against Beckett (16-6) in the seventh to make it 4-1, then came out for a curtain call. Rodriguez's 508th home run tied Toronto's Frank Thomas for 20th on the career list.

The 27-year-old Beckett, a fellow Texas fastballer who grew up idolizing Clemens, gave up four runs over 6 2/3 innings in their first career matchup.

Beckett, who had won three straight decisions, was looking for his major league-best 17th win, which would set a career high.

Damon, who hit a tiebreaking home run in Tuesday's victory, had a two-run single in the second inning.

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