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Rolls leads Tampa attack with 'game of his life'

6/24/2003

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Damian Rolls didn't have to think
long to remember the last time he hit two home runs in a game.

"Lawrence (Kan.) Rebels, 17 years old, summer ball," the
improbable power source of Tampa Bay's 4-2 victory over Roger
Clemens and the New York Yankees said after doubling his major
league total Monday night.

"I'm a line drive hitter that tries to move guys over, not a
home run hitter. ... As you all know, Roger supplied most of the
power. I was just trying to get the (bat) there. The ball did the
rest for me."

Rolls went 3-for-3 against Clemens (7-5) and had a career-high
four RBIs. He hit a three-run homer -- his first home run since Aug.
24, 2001, against the Chicago White Sox _ in the second inning and
added a solo shot in the fifth. He doubled with two outs in the
seventh for the last hit off the Yankees ace.

"Rolls gets a lot of credit. It's the game of his life," New
York manager Joe Torre said. "I mean, he hits two homers off a
Hall of Famer. That's something to be really thrilled about,
there's no question."

Victor Zambrano (4-4) allowed five hits in seven innings as
Tampa Bay stopped a five-game losing skid and ended the Yankees'
winning streak at four.

The right-hander, who pitched eight scoreless innings against
the Yankees last week in a game in which Clemens took a no-hitter
into the eighth, struck out six and walked four after falling
behind 1-0 on Alfonso Soriano's 20th homer on the first pitch of
the game.

Travis Harper pitched the eighth for Tampa Bay and Lance Carter
worked the ninth to earn his 12th save in 16 opportunities.

"This one was more important to me. I pitched against them five
days ago, they know me and I know them and we both have to make
adjustments," Zambrano said. "Making back-to-back starts against
a team means I have to concentrate more. I think I did that. A lot
of good things happened today."

Clemens, who lost his bid for a no-hitter last Wednesday when
Tampa Bay's Marlon Anderson singled with one out in the eighth,
went seven innings and allowed five hits, struck out six and walked
two in his second start since getting his 300th victory June 13. He
dropped to 300-156 in his career.

Rolls' homers were the first for Tampa Bay in six games. The
first came on a 3-2 pitch after Clemens walked Ben Grieve and
Anderson, and the second struck the left-field foul pole and gave
the Devil Rays a 4-2 lead.

"I backed myself into a corner with two walks. The walks are
what killed us," said Clemens, who remained tied with Hall of
Famers Lefty Grove and Early Wynn for 19th on the career victories
list.

"In the situation there, a solo shot doesn't hurt me. A
three-run kills us. ... The two walks led to that."

It was the fourth time Clemens and Zambrano have pitched against
each other this season.

While Clemens was taking a no-hitter into the eighth in their
matchup last Wednesday night, Zambrano was impressive, too,
limiting the Yankees to one hit through seven innings. Neither
pitcher allowed a run, and the Yankees eventually won 1-0 on
Soriano's RBI single in the bottom of the 12th.

Soriano reached the 20-homer, 20-steal mark in 74 games, nine
faster than the team record he set last season. His first-inning
drive traveled an estimated 429 feet, striking the top of the
Batter's Eye restaurant in straightaway center.

Hideki Matsui drove in New York's other run off Zambrano with a
fourth-inning double, trimming Tampa Bay's lead to 3-2.

Game notes
Soriano has six leadoff homers this season and 14 in his
career. ... Both benches were warned by plate umpire John
Hirschbeck after Zambrano threw a pitch behind Soriano in the third
inning. ... The homers by Rolls were the first for the Devil Rays
since Grieve, Anderson and Travis Lee homered during an 11-2
victory over the Yankees in the first game of a doubleheader last
Tuesday. ... Matsui was 0-for-10 against Zambrano before his RBI
double in the fourth. ... Tampa Bay rookie Rocco Baldelli is
0-for-7 against Clemens with six strikeouts. ... Yankees C Jorge
Posada was back in the lineup after not starting Sunday night
against the New York Mets because of a throat infection. ...
Yankees LF Ruben Sierra left in the second inning with a right
hamstring strain. He was injured legging out an infield single.
Sierra said he didn't think it was serious, but he will undergo an
MRI exam Tuesday.