Mariners 6, Yankees 0

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NEW YORK (AP)—Roger Clemens didn’t get closer to 300 wins, and Ichiro Suzuki and Hideki Matsui did little to garner headlines other than show up.

Amidst all the big names converging at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night, Gil Meche pitched the game of his life and overshadowed the long-awaited matchup of Japanese baseball’s biggest stars.

Meche took a three-hitter into the eighth inning, helping deny Clemens his 298th win as the Seattle Mariners beat the New York Yankees 6-0.

“This is probably the biggest night of my baseball career, here, beating a Hall of Famer,” Meche said.

Bret Boone, Ben Davis and Edgar Martinez homered for Seattle, which has won 12 of its last 13 regular-season games at Yankee Stadium.

Japanese fans were evident in the crowd of 38,724, and T-shirts with pictures of the two stars were on sale in the stands for $22.50.

“Usually before an away game, visiting players don’t get cheered,” Suzuki said through a translator. “This time, I felt a little strange, awkward, because I felt cheering from the fans.”

Suzuki, who in 2001 became the first Japanese non-pitcher to earn a regular job in the major leagues, was 1-for-5 with a bunt single and scored in the seventh inning.

Matsui, who joined the Yankees this season, was 1-for-4 with a ninth-inning single off Japanese reliever Shigetoshi Hasegawa. Matsui said the pregame hype wasn’t a factor.

“It really didn’t influence me or anything like that,” he said.

Matsui and Suzuki spoke briefly—“Just greet each other,” according to Matsui.

Hasegawa didn’t want to talk about it, at all. After the game there were signs in his locker saying: “Leave me alone” and “I will not talk about Matsui.”

In the first meeting of the season between the division leaders, New York (20-6) lost consecutive games for the first time this season and was shut out for the first time since a 8-0 loss against Oakland last Aug. 10. Suzuki predicted all Yankees-Mariners’ games are likely to be high-profile.

“As far as the Japanese media is concerned, it isn’t going to die down,” Suzuki said.

Clemens (4-1), pitching on the 17th anniversary of his 20-strikeout game against Seattle for Boston, lost for the first time in six starts this season. He had a terrific split-fingered pitch and struck out eight, but Seattle sat on his fastball, and he gave up four runs and eight hits in six innings.

He’s not planning the celebration of No. 300 just yet.

“I won’t even start considering that until I get one away from it,” he said. “Then we’ll start considering plans, hopefully.”

Meche (3-1), coming back from shoulder surgery, beat Texas on April 12 for his first win since June 23, 2000. He had five innings of 12 pitches or fewer.

“He caught me short-shirted a couple of times,” Clemens said in the clubhouse. “I was up here changing shirts, and I heard the organ and sprinted out the field.”

Meche wound up allowing six hits in 7 2-3 innings, extending his scoreless streak to 16 1-3 innings. Arthur Rhodes and Hasegawa finished with one-hit relief.

“If I can pitch better than this, I can’t wait for that day,” Meche said.

Boone, who had three RBIs, homered in the first, knocking off his batting helmet off on his follow-through, and rounded the bases bareheaded.

“I was very uncomfortable. I didn’t like that,” he said.

But Boone also committed a gaffe in the field, losing track of outs in the third inning and costing Seattle a chance at a double play when he trotted across second base instead of throwing to first after taking the throw from Jeff Cirillo on Alfonso Soriano’s grounder to third.

“Just chalk that up to being a bonehead,” Boone said. “That’s a stupid,stupid thing I did, and we ended up getting away with it.”


Davis hit a two-run homer in the second and Martinez homered leading off the fourth. … Clemens dropped to 22-14 in regular-season decisions against Seattle and his ERA this season rose from 2.12 to 2.70. His previous three-homer start was Aug. 29 at Toronto. … John Olerud had three hits. … Seattle has four shutouts, one more than its 2002 total. … New York had homered in 14 straight games. … Soriano went 0-for-4, ending his 15-game hitting streak. He lined into a DP on a 12-pitch AB in the eighth. … New York SS Derek Jeter, out since opening day because of a dislocated left shoulder, hopes to return by May 13. … Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, sidelined since spring training with a right groin injury, was activated and RHP Jason Anderson was optioned to Triple-A Columbus. … New York RHP Jose Contreras made his first start for Columbus, striking out eight and walking none in five scorelessinnings during a 7-1 win at Toledo. He allowed three hits.

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