NEW YORK (AP) -- Three days after turning 40, Roger Clemens has
rarely looked better.
"He's not 40, he's fooling everybody,'' Posada said. "About
Driving off the mound with strength and purpose, the Rocket
showed no ill effects of the injured right groin that had kept him
out since July 13. He struck out eight in his 289th victory,
passing Tommy John for sole possession of 21st place on the career
"I don't feel 40 tonight,'' Clemens said. "I've taken pretty
good care of myself. It was a pleasure and a privilege to pass
Tommy John, although it took a little longer than we wanted. It's
great to be back. I expect to be back for the duration. I don't
like down time.''
Posada drove in four runs with a three-run homer and a
bases-loaded walk, while Jeter went deep for the first time in a
month. The Yankees increased their lead in the AL East to five
games over Boston -- matching a season high.
Clemens gave up two runs and six hits, walking one. He threw 105
pitches, 73 for strikes, and won for the first time in six starts
since beating San Francisco on June 9. He is 6-0 lifetime in first
starts since coming off the disabled list.
"You marvel at it, yet you still take it for granted,'' Yankees
manager Joe Torre said. "When you think about Roger you don't
think about age because he's a power pitcher, like Nolan Ryan.''
Steve Karsay worked two perfect innings to finish it.
The Royals have dropped 13 of 16 after winning 10 of 11.
Staked to a 4-0 lead in the first inning, Clemens (9-3) flashed
good velocity in the mid-90s and cruised through the first four. He
looked comfortable covering first base on three grounders to the
right side and even spun quickly to pick Carlos Beltran off first.
"He didn't hesitate all night,'' Torre said. "He looked very
relaxed. I think he answered a lot of questions tonight. Sometimes
3-to-4 weeks on the disabled list gives you a chance to get your
energy back, I don't care how old you are.''
The six-time Cy Young winner got through the sixth for the first
time in six outings, and the crowd of 40,184 cheered when Torre
left him in to finish the seventh after a visit to the mound.
Clemens then struck out pinch-hitter Luis Alicea with two
runners on to end the inning, hopping off the mound and pumping his
"Same old Roger,'' Royals manager Tony Pena said. "He's going
to challenge people.''
The Rocket was dressed in his full uniform more than an hour
before the game, and picked a great team to come back against. He
improved to 21-7 career against Kansas City with a 2.04 ERA.
Beltran made a spectacular diving catch in center field to rob
Bernie Williams of an RBI double, but Robin Ventura walked with two
outs and Posada hit the next pitch over the right-center fence for
his 19th home run and a 4-0 lead.
"I didn't have the finish on the pitch. I left it up where he
could do some damage with it,'' Suppan said.
Jeter lined a 3-2 pitch down the left-field line in the fifth
for his 13th home run, and first since July 7 against Toronto.
Clemens gave up an infield single with one out in the sixth to
Carlos Febles, who reached second on Ventura's throwing error from
third. He scored when right fielder Raul Mondesi bobbled Chuck
Knoblauch's single for an error.
Aaron Guiel then lashed an RBI double to right-center to cut it
to 5-2, drawing a visit from pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre.
Clemens got back down in the strike zone from there, retiring
Beltran and Raul Ibanez on easy grounders.
"We expected him to be sharp,'' Torre said. "Roger is all
about taking things seriously. He threw some pitches that looked
like they were going to be low and they ended up being right there.
That means you've got some good carry on your ball.''
Royals reliever Scott Mullen walked three in the seventh,
including Posada with the bases loaded.
Suppan, who needed 36 pitches to get through the first, allowed
six runs and nine hits in 6 1/3 innings. He has lost four straight
starts and is 1-9 on the road.
Yankees rookie 1B Nick Johnson left after three innings
with a sprained left wrist sustained while making a nice tumbling
grab of Ibanez's liner in the second. Precautionary X-rays were
negative and he was to have a precautionary MRI exam Thursday.
Johnson was replaced by Ron Coomer. ... All-Star reliever Mariano
Rivera (right shoulder strain) was to come off the 15-day DL on
Thursday and rejoin the Yankees. ... Suppan has allowed 26 homers
this season, matching his total from all of last year.