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Clemens tosses first complete game since 1999

7/31/2003

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Roger Clemens showed he could still
finish what he started.

Clemens pitched his first complete game in more than three
years, shutting out Anaheim on five hits and leading the New York
Yankees over the Angels 8-0 Wednesday night.

"Those things are great, and they're special for a number of
reasons," said Clemens, who kept the game ball after Adam Kennedy
grounded out to end it. "But I don't worry about whether it's the
last one or not. I've done everything I could possibly have dreamed
of, but my work's not done just yet."

The victory ended a string 104 consecutive regular-season starts
without a complete game for Clemens, (10-7) -- the longest such
drought in Yankees history.

The shutout was the 46th of his 20-year career and first since
June 29, 1999, against Detroit. His previous complete game came on
May 28, 2000, when he lost to Pedro Martinez and the Boston Red
Sox.

"When you get that close to a shutout, especially in his
situation, every one of these could be the very last time,"
Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "So I think that's something to
savor. That, to me, is like going back in time when he used to just
dominate a game. Tonight it was vintage Clemens. You go back 20
years and there he is -- just shutting people down."

Still throwing 92 mph fastballs, Clemens earned his 303rd career
victory. He walked one and struck out five, increasing his career
strikeout total to 4,053.

The victory came in his final start as a 40-year-old -- he turns
41 on Monday.

"He's one of those guys who's taken his game and ability to a
level beyond most other people -- even at the age that he is,"
Kennedy said. "That kind of competitive nature you can't teach.
And when you combined that with talent, it's tough to beat that."

Clemens threw 114 pitches in his 117th career complete game in
595 starts. He lasted only four innings in his previous start,
getting sent to an early exit by Baltimore. But the extra day's
rest helped.

"I was afforded this luxury by the way the guys played. They
put so many runs up on the board," he said. "It's nice to have
that kind of run support, because you're able to do what you want
to do out there. But in turn, you have to throw strikes.

"I still feel like I have the stuff to go the distance," he
said. "Joe and Mel (pitching coach Stottlemyre) are protective of
that, and they watch the pitch counts very closely because we have
bigger goals. That's the bottom line. What I do now makes no
difference. We have bigger objectives here."

Jason Giambi went 3-for-3 with three RBI and his 30th homer as
the Yankees increased their AL East lead over Boston to 2{ games.

John Lackey (7-10) allowed seven runs and six hits over 6 2-3
innings while finishing with four walks and a career-high nine
strikeouts.

"I thought John hung in there and threw the ball well,"
pitching coach Bud Black said. "He went up against arguably the
best team in the American League -- and a Hall of Fame pitcher. I
think John learned some things tonight, and he'll be better for
it."

With slumping Alfonso Soriano getting the night off, Derek Jeter
was bumped into the leadoff spot for 12th time this season and
opened the game with a double. Lackey walked Giambi and Jorge
Posada with one out before Hideki Matsui broke his bat on an 0-1
pitch and flared it into short left field for a two-run single.

Giambi made it 3-0 in the third, hitting Lackey's first pitch
for a home run. He led off the sixth with a double and scored on
Matsui's sacrifice fly, before Bernie Williams chased Lackey with a
two-out RBI single in the seventh.

Giambi followed with a two-run double off reliever Gary Glover,
who made his Angels debut after Tuesday's trade that sent reliever
Scott Schoeneweis to the Chicago White Sox.

Clemens got out of the fourth inning with help from Williams,
the Yankees' Gold Glove center fielder, who made a diving catch of
Scott Spiezio's looper on a hit-and-run and doubling up Jeff
DaVanon at first base.

Game notes
In the bottom of the fourth, the press box lost power
because of a problem with a transformer and remained that way for
the rest of the game. Nothing else in the ballpark was affected.
... Clemens improved to 29-8 lifetime against the Angels -- the most
wins he's had over an opponent. ... Clemens was 14-4 with a 2.84
ERA in 23 career starts at Anaheim Stadium/Edison Field. He also
started Game 4 of the 1986 ALCS for Boston, getting a no-decision
in the Angels' 4-3 victory. But Clemens wrapped up the pennant for
the Red Sox four days later with an 8-1 win at Fenway Park. ...
Before the game, the Angels gave right-handed pitcher Kevin Appier
his unconditional release. ... Clemens needs two wins to tie Hall
of Famer Eddie Plank for 18th place on the career list. ... This is
the ninth time this season that Clemens has thrown 110 or more
pitches.