The New York Yankees used a solid performance from one of the greatest pitchers of all time to extend their season-high win streak in their last outing. Now, they’ll look to keep their run alive the same way they started it— with rookie Tyler Clippard on the mound.
After Roger Clemens delivered a victory in his first start of the season, Clippard goes for his fourth win in five starts as the Yankees close their three-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday.
The 44-year-old Clemens allowed three runs and five hits while striking out seven in six innings on Saturday, leading the Yankees (29-31) to a 9-3 win over the Pirates (26-36). New York has outscored opponents 36-14 during its five-game win streak, and the only close game in that stretch was a 5-4 victory Friday in this series’ opener.
“This is the start of something we hope will be very special for us the rest of the way, at a point in our season where we think we’re making a statement about who we are,” manager Joe Torre said.
The 22-year-old Clippard (3-1, 3.60 ERA) beat the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday to start New York’s run. The right-hander held the White Sox to one run and five hits in five innings of a 7-3 win.
“He’s not afraid of what’s going to happen,” Torre told the team’s official Web site. “That’s the body language I get from him. He’s not overpowering, but he mixes it up enough. He continues to compete, and he’s got determination.”
Clippard has made one interleague start, allowing one run and three hits in six innings to beat the New York Mets in his major league debut on May 20.
“Every start is obviously a learning process, and I’m learning new things every time out there,” Clippard said. “But I feel like the adaptation process is coming along pretty well.”
Saturday’s loss was the eighth in 11 games for the Pirates, who are still looking for their first win against the Yankees since beating them in the seventh game of the 1960 World Series.
Pittsburgh was swept in a three-game set at Yankee Stadium from June 14-16, 2005—these teams’ only regular-season meeting before this weekend.
The Pirates have lost 20 of their last 24 games against AL opponents to fall to 52-86 in interleague play, easily the worst record in baseball. The Yankees, on the other hand, have the majors’ best mark at 106-73.
Freddy Sanchez is a career .345 hitter in interleague games, but last year’s NL batting champ had his nine-game hitting streak snapped on Saturday. He is batting .339 in his last 30 contests.
Pittsburgh’s Shawn Chacon (2-0, 3.26) will make his first start against the Yankees since he pitched for them for parts of the 2005 and 2006 seasons.
Chacon is 1-0 with a 2.81 ERA in three starts since being put in the rotation. He gave up four runs and eight hits in 5 1-3 innings on Tuesday to beat Washington 7-6.
The right-hander made one relief appearance against the Yankees before his stint in New York, allowing two hits in one scoreless inning on June 9, 2004, when he pitched for Colorado.