Yankees 3, Orioles 1
NEW YORK (AP)—Everybody knew Roger Clemens had a blazing fastball. Turns out he’s got a quick hook, too.
Wells told Clemens he should have walked more like Joe Torre on his way out to the mound to make it look more authentic.
“I knew he was manager for a day, but I didn’t know how far they were going to take it,” Wells said. “When he got to the line I just started laughing.”
Alfonso Soriano hit a two-run homer for his 38th of the year and Drew Henson got his first major league hit for the Yankees, who begin the playoffs Tuesday afternoon at home against the Minnesota Twins.
New York’s Derek Jeter, who entered the day just a percentage point behind Boston’s Bill Mueller in the AL batting race, went 0-for-3 before he was removed. Jeter finished at .324, two points Mueller and one back of Manny Ramirez.
“Yeah, it would have been nice. I had an opportunity,” said Jeter, who missed six weeks after dislocating his shoulder on opening day. “I’m probably more pleased with this season than any other. It was probably more satisfying.”
Despite a misty day, 42,394 fans showed up, helping the Yankees set a franchise attendance record of 3,465,550—surpassing last year’s total of 3,461,644. New York finished with the highest attendance in the majors this season.
Having already clinched home-field advantage throughout the postseason, the Yankees decided to have some fun in their regular-season finale before the playoff pressure begins.
One day after earning his 310th win, Clemens made out the lineup—“It’s a good one,” he said—and managed the team in place of Torre.
“I don’t know how long he’s been here, but I guarantee he doesn’t know the ground rules at Yankee Stadium,” Clemens said.
The Rocket even sat in Torre’s chair and met the media after the game.
“Now I know why the skipper gets ulcers,” he said. “I can’t see myself doing this, but it was fun.”
In the other clubhouse, Orioles manager Mike Hargrove got a big hand from his players after a postgame speech. He knows there’s a chance he won’t be back next season.
“Hopefully, it’s not an end, but I’ve enjoyed my time as an Oriole,” Hargrove said.
Clemens walked out of the dugout to remove Wells in the eighth inning and gave him a hug on the mound.
“It’s emotional. It’s not every day that you get a 300-game winner coming out to take you out of a potential 200-win ballgame,” Wells said. “He’s been in my corner every day since I got here.”
Wells left to a standing ovation and chants of “Boomer! Boomer!” He waved his cap and pointed to the crowd.
“The great thing about these fans is they’re hard to get on your side, but once you do they’re yours for life,” Wells said.
Wells (15-7) went 7 2-3 innings, allowing one run and five hits. He finished the season with only 20 walks in 213 innings, and he is 200-128 lifetime.
“It’s a great accomplishment,” Wells said. “I’m not big on numbers … but you can cherish it the rest of your life. I’m honored to be on the 200 list.”
Despite the left-hander’s 8-2 career record in the postseason, Torre has not committed to Wells for a possible Game 4 at Minnesota. But this outing can only inspire confidence.
Henson, the former Michigan quarterback and current third-base prospect, bounced a single up the middle in the third for his first hit. Soriano followed with a drive over the left-field fence off Eric DuBose (3-6).
Karim Garcia added a two-out RBI single in the sixth to make it 3-1.
The Yankees (101-61) finished a season-high 40 games over .500 and six games ahead of Boston in the AL East. They tied Atlanta for the best record in the majors. … Yankees OF David Dellucci flied out as a pinch-hitter in the fourth, his first action since going on the disabled list Aug. 28 with a sprained left ankle. Dellucci stayed in the game and later scored. After seeing him run easily, Torre changed his mind and said he still might include Dellucci on the first-round playoff roster. … Clemens on whether he had any previous managerial experience: “Not at this level.” … New York won the season series 13-6-1. … The Orioles (71-91) finished a season-high 20 games under.500. … Wells gave the Yankees four 15-game winners.