Lucky glove tossed aside as Clemens fails to get milestone 300th win

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 27, 2003

NEW YORK - All Roger Clemens caught with his new glove was some criticism.

Hoping for a celebration, Clemens broke out a mitt Monday that featured a big, shiny ''300'' logo on the back.

But the patch turned out to be a bit premature. Rather than recording his 300th career win, Clemens' first bid at the milestone victory became a bust when the Boston Red Sox banged him around and beat New York 8-4, the Yankees' eighth straight home loss.

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''I'm going to get there eventually - I hope,'' Clemens said.

''It was just great that I had the opportunity,'' he said. ''It couldn't have worked out any better, except for the loss.''

The start of the game was delayed 1 hour, 42 minutes by rain, and Clemens' routine was further disrupted right after his final warmup. That's when Red Sox manager Grady Little walked out to question Clemens' glove.

Plate umpire Bill Miller agreed with Little that it could be distracting. Clemens had to toss aside that glove while another one was brought from the dugout.

''It wasn't a big deal,'' Clemens said.

Was it presumptuous to wear that glove?

''Not at all,'' he said.

Yankees manager Joe Torre said Clemens expected the new glove to be challenged. But Torre found it strange that it was removed, saying he thought it had been approved by Major League Baseball.

Baseball, however, seemed surprised that Clemens' glove carried the unique patch.

''To the best of my knowledge, Major League Baseball was not aware that Roger Clemens was going to wear a special glove,'' spokesman Pat Courtney said.

Little said he didn't notice Clemens' glove right away.

''Some of our players brought it to my attention. They were watching every move the guy was making out there,'' he said.

Crew chief Joe West came in from second base for the discussion.

''Boston complained about it,'' West said. ''Roger said it was a glove that the commissioner's office had sent to him for the occasion. The patch was embroidered on there.''

Boston tagged Clemens for eight runs and 10 hits in 5 2-3 innings. He slowly trudged off the mound, his head down the whole way, after Todd Walker's two-run single.

Now, he'll have to wait until next weekend in Detroit - or later at Cincinnati or Wrigley Field, if necessary - to try to join the 20 other pitchers with 300 career victories. The exact date of his next start is uncertain because David Wells is healing from a calf injury.

In the only other AL games, Detroit edged Cleveland 6-5 and Toronto beat Chicago 11-5.

Clemens (6-3) desperately wanted to win on this afternoon. Torre gave him plenty of opportunities, letting his ace throw 133 pitches - his highest total in more than two years. Still, Clemens remained winless in his last nine starts at Yankee Stadium.

''Everything was set up. It was a perfect atmosphere,'' Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter said. ''But we didn't show up, that's the bottom line.''

Clemens' mother, Bess, traveled to Yankee Stadium for the first time since her son clinched the 1999 World Series. She suffers from emphysema and has had a recent bout with pneumonia, and wore a breathing tube around her face.

His kids sat in the front row of the loge level, posting ''K'' cards to keep track of their dad's strikeouts, and Clemens fanned nine to raise his lifetime total to 3,985.

Former Red Sox teammates Al Nipper, Rich Gedman, Bruce Hurst and Marty Barrett were among the sellout crowd of 55,093 on Memorial Day. So was former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, just a few days after his wedding.

''Yeah, it's disappointing,'' Torre said. ''I'm sure he had everything in place with his family and everything, so that's tough. We all wanted him to do it here.''

Yankees owner George Steinbrenner also was present, and he couldn't have been happy as his team lost its season-high fifth in a row.

The Yankees' skid at home is their longest since they dropped 10 straight in 1986 - Clemens won once during that streak for Boston. New York has also lost 12 of 13 at Yankee Stadium for the first time in club history.

Nomar Garciaparra extended his hitting streak to 26 games and Walker drove in three runs as Boston increased its AL East lead over the Yankees to 2 1/2 games.

Tim Wakefield (5-2) got the win, but no special satisfaction out of spoiling Clemens' bid.

''Roger was a teammate of mine for two years and I respect Roger more than anybody in the game,'' he said.

Nolan Ryan was the last pitcher to win 300, reaching the mark in 1990 on his second try.

The 40-year-old Clemens earned his 299th victory last Wednesday night at Fenway Park, where he played from 1984-96 for the Red Sox.

Boston led 1-0 in the third when Trot Nixon drew a bases-loaded walk on a close 3-2 pitch, and Clemens threw up his arms in disbelief when Miller called it a ball. Kevin Millar's sacrifice fly made it 3-0.

Walker's RBI grounder and a wild pitch put the Red Sox ahead 5-0 in the fourth.

Tigers 6, Indians 5

Brandon Inge hit a tiebreaking homer off Jason Boyd (0-1) with two outs in the seventh, and Detroit beat Cleveland for only its fourth home victory this season.

Dmitri Young homered and drove in four runs for the Tigers, who won for the fourth time in five games overall and improved to 4-17 at Comerica Park.

Blue Jays 11, White Sox 5

At Toronto, Carlos Delgado hit a two-run single in a five-run sixth inning and won its fifth straight.

Chris Woodward and Josh Phelps homered for the Blue Jays, who returned home from an 8-2 road trip and handed struggling lefty Mark Buehrle (2-8) his seventh consecutive loss.