Series: Game 3 of 4

NY Yankees leads 2-1 (as of 9/27)

Game 1: Friday, September 26
NY Yankees11
Game 2: Friday, September 26
in 10
NY Yankees2
Game 3: Saturday, September 27
NY Yankees6
Game 4: Sunday, September 28
NY Yankees3

Orioles 2

(71-90, 31-50 away)

Yankees 6

(100-61, 49-32 home)

    4:05 PM ET, September 27, 2003

    Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York 

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    BAL 020000000 2 4 0
    NYY 02030001 - 6 14 0

    W: R. Clemens (17-9)

    L: J. Johnson (10-10)

    Clemens to start Game 3 vs. Twins

    NEW YORK (AP) -- The New York Yankees knew this was their last chance to enjoy a laugh at Roger Clemens' expense.

    Joe Torre and Mel Stottlemyre took full advantage of it.

    Clemens walked off a winner Saturday in the final regular-season start of his storied career, leading the Yankees to a 6-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.

    His manager and pitching coach sent Clemens back out to the mound before the seventh, with the Rocket thinking he was going to throw one more inning.

    When Clemens started firing warmup pitches, everybody on the bench got a good chuckle.

    "Mel and Joe set me up pretty good," Clemens said. "Mel was so precise about the hitter I was going to face, he wanted to see me break him down. I didn't know (Jose) Contreras was warming up in the bullpen."

    It was all in jest. Torre came out and lifted Clemens so he could walk off to a thunderous ovation.

    "Mel and I were devious today," Torre said. "Three of us really, Zim (bench coach Don Zimmer) was in on it, too. I thought it was great, the fans right on cue with the ovation.

    "We were away in commercial. You've got to think of these things. If he doesn't take his warmups, the TV audience doesn't see him get the ovation. I didn't cue television in, either."

    Clemens earned his 310th victory and Juan Rivera homered twice for the Yankees, who reached 100 wins for the second straight year and the 17th time in their history.

    "We're proud of that," Torre said. "These are not goals you can set at the beginning of the season. But it turns out that we got hot. Even six weeks ago you wouldn't have thought we would win 100."

    The AL East champions have home-field advantage throughout the postseason, which begins Tuesday against Minnesota.

    Clemens (17-9), who plans to retire after the season, will pitch Game 3 of that series next Saturday at the Metrodome -- meaning this might have been his final appearance ever at Yankee Stadium.

    Baseball's only six-time Cy Young Award winner made the most of the moment, going six innings in a solid tuneup for October.

    "I'll try and enjoy it here for a couple days and then get back to work," said Clemens, who kept a game ball and the lineup card among several souvenirs.

    Clemens, 41, got a standing ovation as he walked in from the bullpen before the game, and didn't disappoint the crowd of 42,702. He's become a fan favorite in the Bronx after beginning his career with 13 stellar seasons for the rival Red Sox.

    He spent the next two in Toronto, then the last five with the Yankees, winning two World Series rings.

    He allowed two runs and three hits -- all in the second inning -- on Saturday.

    When he departed, flashbulbs popped all over the ballpark and Elton John's "Rocket Man" played on the loudspeakers as Clemens pointed to the crowd and touched his heart. He got a warm greeting and dozens of handshakes from his teammates in the dugout.

    "The atmosphere was great, with the fans behind him. It's something I'll remember after the end of my career," Derek Jeter said.

    Clemens came out for a curtain call, tipped his cap and gestured toward the Baltimore dugout, where the Orioles were all clapping.

    "When you have your peers that you battle against do that, it's really special," Clemens said.

    Clemens finished one win behind former teammate Tom Seaver, who is 16th on the career list. The Rocket ended up 310-160 with a 3.19 ERA.

    "Obviously, it's debatable, one of the top five greatest pitchers ever. He's got to be," teammate Andy Pettitte said.

    Clemens struck out three to give him 4,099 in his 20-year career, third behind Nolan Ryan (5,714) and Steve Carlton (4,136).

    The Rocket remembered his first strikeout victim in 1984, Orioles manager Mike Hargrove.

    "You don't get a chance to see a player or a pitcher like Roger Clemens very often. I've gotten to see it from both sides," Hargrove said.

    Contreras pitched two scoreless innings, and Felix Heredia finished it for Clemens.

    The Orioles went ahead in the second inning on Deivi Cruz's sacrifice fly and a two-out RBI single by Brook Fordyce.

    Alfonso Soriano's two-run single off Jason Johnson (10-10) tied it in the second. With the runners going on the pitch, Rivera scored from first on a liner to right-center.

    Rivera lined a three-run shot over the left-field fence in the fourth for a 5-2 lead. He added a solo shot in the eighth for his seventh of the season -- and fifth in his past five starts.

    Rivera set career highs by going 4-for-4 with four RBI and three runs scored. It was his first multihomer game.

    Game notes

    Clemens improved to 22-12 lifetime against Baltimore. ... Soriano stole his 35th base, making him just the third major league player to have consecutive seasons with 35 homers and 35 steals. Willie Mays (1956-57) and Barry Bonds (1996-97) are the others. ... The Yankees activated David Dellucci from the disabled list, but Torre doesn't expect to include the outfielder on the first-round playoff roster. Dellucci had been out since Aug. 28 with a sprained left ankle. ... Johnson, bothered by a cut on his right big toe, is 0-5 in nine starts since beating Boston on Aug. 10.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press