Roger Clemens shut down the New York Mets and again showed why he’s one of the game’s greatest pitchers. A few hours and a bus ride later, Brandon Claussen gave the New York Yankees a promising glimpse into their future.
Claussen gave up two runs -- one earned -- and pitched into the seventh inning in his major league debut, and Alfonso Soriano and Derek Jeter led off with consecutive homers, and the Yankees held off the Mets, 9-8, Saturday night for a sweep of their two-ballpark, day-night doubleheader.
“I tried to block everything out, but yeah, sure I was excited,” said Claussen, who had “Tommy John” surgery on his left elbow last season. “I really don’t know what to say. Every expectation I had has been exceeded. I feel great.”
In the first game, at Yankee Stadium, Clemens (8-5) earned his 301st victory, and Hideki Matsui hit a grand slam and drove in a career-high five runs in the Yankees’ 7-1 victory.
The Yankees built a 9-0 lead in the second game, at Shea Stadium, only to see the Mets nearly come all the way back. Raul Gonzalez’s three-run double against Mariano Rivera in the eighth pulled the Mets to within 9-8, but Gonzalez got caught in a rundown between second and third and was thrown out.
That ended the Mets’ best chance. Rivera struck out Ty Wigginton to get out of the inning and finished for his 13th save in 14 chances, giving the Yankees their sixth consecutive victory.
The Yankees have won all five games against the Mets this year and go for a season sweep today.
“If we had beaten them 9-0, I would be more confident that we would sweep them,” Manager Joe Torre said. “They reached down tonight and gave us a run.”
With three victories at Shea Stadium in 2003, the Yankees completed the first Subway Series sweep by either team since interleague play began in 1997.
“This series epitomizes what our season is about,” said Tom Glavine (5-8), who started the second game. “Aside from this afternoon’s game, we’ve had a chance to win every game.”