Savoring every trip to the mound during his 20th and final season in the big leagues, Roger Clemens will make his last appearance in Baltimore when the New York Yankees resume a four-game series with the Orioles at Camden Yards.
A six-time Cy Young Award winner and just the 21st pitcher to reach 300 victories, Clemens posted win No. 307 in a 5-2 triumph over Detroit on Thursday.
“The Rocket” allowed two runs and seven hits over 6 2-3 innings, striking out six and walking two. Only the third pitcher in big league history to surpass the 4,000-strikeout plateau, Clemens, 41, is bidding for his 11th 15-win season.
“I’m sorry to see him go for baseball,” Tigers manager Alan Trammell said of Clemens. “I’m not sorry to see him go when he pitches against us.”
The Orioles may also be happy to see Clemens go into retirement. The hard-throwing right-hander is 17-11 with six complete games and a 3.50 ERA in his career against Baltimore.
Clemens has made the most of his last trip through the various major league ballparks, going 8-2 with a 2.73 ERA in 13 road outings.
However, Clemens has not pitched well at hitter-friendly Camden Yards, going 5-6 with a 4.32 ERA in 16 career starts.
The Yankees maintained their 5 1/2 -game cushion over second-place Boston in the AL East by routing the Orioles 13-1 in Monday’s series opener.
Jerry Hairston drove in the lone run for the Orioles, who have lost five of six to clinch their sixth straight losing season. Baltimore has dropped 17 of its last 21 against New York.
STANDINGS: Yankees - 1st place, AL East. Orioles - 4th place, 25 1/2 GB, AL East.
YANKEES PROBABLE STARTER: Clemens (14-9, 4.13 ERA). Clemens is tied with Mickey Welch for 18th place on the career wins list, two behind Hoss Radbourn. This is the first of what should be Clemens’ final three starts in the regular season.
ORIOLES PROBABLE STARTER: Jason Johnson (10-7, 3.83 ERA). Johnson is 0-2 in his last six starts despite yielding four runs or fewer in each of those outings. The right-hander allowed four runs and nine hits over 6 2-3 innings in Wednesday’s 5-0 loss to Pedro Martinez and the Red Sox. He is 1-6 despite a solid 3.75 ERA in 11 career appearances, including 10 starts, against the Yankees.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Yankees - Derek Jeter, .323 avg.; Jason Giambi, 39 HRs; Hideki Matsui and Giambi, 100 RBIs; Soriano, 105 runs and 33 SBs. Orioles - Brian Roberts, .278 avg. and 22 SBs; Tony Batista, 25 HRs; Jay Gibbons and Batista, 93 RBIs; Gibbons, 73 runs.
SEASON SERIES: Yankees, 9-4.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Yankees - On Monday, OF Matsui became just the third rookie in franchise history to reach 100 RBIs, joining Joe DiMaggio (125 in 1936) and Tony Lazzeri (114 in 1926). … 2B Soriano has 11 leadoff homers this year, one shy of the major league record, established by Baltimore’s Brady Anderson in 1996. … New York has won six of seven games in Baltimore this year. Orioles - OF Melvin Mora was declared out for the season Monday because of a knee injury. Baltimore called up OF Pedro Swann to fill the void. … RHP Johnson is 6-4 with a 3.61 ERA in 15 home starts this year. … OF B.J. Surhoff is batting .297 (30-for-101) with five homers and 18 RBIs in his career against RHP Clemens.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Yankees - 46-26 on the road; Orioles - 38-37 at home.
INJURIES: Yankees - OF David Dellucci (ankle), 15-day DL; RHP Steve Karsay (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Jon Lieber (elbow), 60-day DL. Orioles - 1B David Segui (wrist), 15-day DL; RHP Kurt Ainsworth (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Erik Bedard (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Scott Erickson (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Willis Roberts (elbow), 60-day DL; OF Albert Belle (hip), 60-day DL; OF Marty Cordova (elbow), 60-day DL.