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  Saturday, Oct. 14 7:30pm ET
Clemens strikes out 15 with one-hit gem

SEATTLE (AP) -- Roger Clemens brushed back Alex Rodriguez, then brought the New York Yankees to the brink of another World Series trip.

Pitching the greatest game of his flawed postseason career, Clemens threw a one-hitter and struck out a record-setting 15 to give the Yankees a 5-0 win Saturday night and a 3-1 lead in the AL championship series.

Game 4 at a glance
Every game a hero
Wow. From the first inning, Roger Clemens was firing blazing 96-mph fastballs that the Mariners flailed helplessly at. He fanned 15 and remained strong throughout the game. He allowed only Al Martin's leadoff double in the seventh -- and then fanned Alex Rodriguez, Edgar Martinez and Mike Cameron to get out of the inning.
Key play
In the fifth, Scott Brosius hit a one-out single to right field off Paul Abbott, who allowed just one hit to that point. Chuck Knoblauch walked on a 3-1 pitch, bringing up Derek Jeter, who took ball one low. After a meeting with pitching coach Bryan Price, Abbott threw a fastball ... and Jeter deposited it over the center-field fence, just past the reach of Cameron, for a 3-0 lead.
Key number
Clemens became the sixth pitcher to get 15 strikeouts in a postseason game. The others:
17 -- Bob Gibson, Cardinals (1968 W.S.)
16 -- Kevin Brown, Padres (1998 NLDS)
15 -- Sandy Koufax, Dodgers (1963 W.S)
15 -- Mike Mussina, Orioles (1997 ALCS)
15 -- Livan Hernandez, Marlins (1997 NLCS)
ESPN analysis
Lou Piniella was very critical after the game but Roger Clemens knew that Alex Rodriguez was the one hitter in Seattle's lineup who really hit him and it was always pitches he left out over the plate. Clemens was simply not going to let that happen tonight. He came up and in and got A-Rod out.
-- Buck Martinez

Al Martin doubled off the glove of leaping first baseman Tino Martinez in the seventh inning for Seattle's only hit.

"Tonight was special," Clemens said. "The ball was jumping out of my hand."

In a testy, tense affair that saw Mariners manager Lou Piniella shout a string of profanities toward Yankees counterpart Joe Torre after some early brushbacks, the Yankees won with power pitching and power hitting.

Derek Jeter hit a three-run homer in the fifth and David Justice launched a two-run shot in the eighth. That was plenty for Clemens, who used 97 mph fastballs to set a nine-inning ALCS record for strikeouts.

"It was total dominance," Torre said.

The Yankees can wrap up their 37th AL pennant and a chance at their third straight World Series title -- possibly in a Subway Series -- when Denny Neagle starts against Freddy Garcia in Game 5 Sunday.

And suddenly, all those white towels Mariners fans have been waving at Safeco Field might wind up being flags of surrender.

Martinez vainly jumped to catch Martin's leadoff liner, but the ball glanced off the very tip of his glove and rolled into the right-field corner. It was a clean hit, and the official scorer immediately ruled it that way.

"I couldn't get it. It was the best I could jump," Martinez said.

Coming off two losses to Oakland in the division series that dropped his postseason record to 3-5, Clemens had become the symbol of what was wrong with the Yankees. At 38, some thought the five-time Cy Young winner and his teammates were too old and broken down to keep their run going.

The Rocket showed otherwise from the start -- and with a vengeance.

After striking out Stan Javier and Martin to start the bottom of the first, he buzzed Rodriguez with two fastballs. Rodriguez eventually walked, making him the only Mariners hitter to reach until the seventh.

In the top of the second, losing pitcher Paul Abbott threw a fastball near Jorge Posada's head, and that's when the shouting started.

From the Mariners' first-base dugout, Piniella started screaming across the way toward Torre. Fans in the front row -- including the world's richest man, Bill Gates -- could certainly hear the world-class tirade, with Piniella vowing his team would not back down.

"He wants to throw at our guys, we'll throw at his guys," Piniella said after the game. "I was just trying to let him know we'll protect our hitters, period."

Said Torre: "It was animated. I can understand. Lou's a fiery guy."

Before the bottom of the second, umpire crew chief John Hirschbeck walked in from second base to talk with Clemens on the mound.

"I told him: 'I'm not saying you threw at Rodriguez or accusing you of that. But obviously they thought you did because of that pitch to Posada,' " Hirschbeck said.

"I said: `Let's just let it be done, or else I'll have to issue warnings.' He said, `I hear you, John. I'm all set,"' he said.

In the fourth, Martin was retired on a play in which Clemens covered first base. The two players bumped shoulders after crossing the bag and Clemens raised an elbow.

But in the seventh, Martin hit back with a liner that prevented Clemens from throwing only the second no-hitter in postseason history. Don Larsen threw a perfect game for the Yankees against Brooklyn in the 1956 World Series.

Clemens, who has never pitched a no-hitter in the majors, said he was not aware he had one in progress until he saw the boxscore on the clubhouse TV in the fourth inning.

"I wasn't really focused on that, I was focused on winning the game."

The Mariners, meanwhile, are batting only .183 in the series and have scored just five runs.

It was the second one-hitter in a week for a New York pitcher, with Bobby J. Jones of the Mets doing it in an NL division clincher against San Francisco.

The scrape between Clemens and Martin was the last sign of trouble. Clemens mowed down the Mariners, much the way he did in setting a major league strikeout record by fanning 20 Seattle hitters on April 29, 1986, while with Boston.

The Mariners threatened only once. Martin's double and a two-out walk to John Olerud brought up Mike Cameron as the tying run, but he struck out.

The Yankees broke through against Abbott in the fifth. Scott Brosius singled with two outs, Chuck Knoblauch worked out a walk and Jeter homered to dead center.

Jeter blew a bubble as he ran toward first base and raised his right fist when he saw the ball clear Cameron's leap.

Abbott left with tightness in his right shoulder after the fifth. Justice homered off Jose Mesa.

Game notes
Clemens has 21 regular-season wins against Seattle, the most by a Mariners opponent. ... Yankees OF Paul O'Neill stopped during pregame warmups to watch the scoreboard when it showed Mark McGwire's pinch-hit at-bat in NLCS. Big Mac hit a long fly ball, prompting O'Neill to say, "Didn't miss by much." St. Louis beat the New York Mets 8-2, cutting the Cardinals' deficit to 2-1, in a game that ended a minute before the Yankees and Mariners began. ... It was the anniversary of the date current Yankees batting coach Chris Chambliss hit a bottom-of-the-ninth homer to lift New York over Kansas City in the deciding Game 5 of the 1976 ALCS. ... Seattle catcher Dan Wilson struck out twice, leaving him at 2-for-54 (.037) lifetime in postseason play.

Greatest postseason performances
Using the Game Score method (see below for scoring method), Roger Clemens' outing Saturday ranks as the most dominating in postseason history. Here are the postseason performances that "scored" at 90 or higher:
Pitcher Team Year Series IP H ER BB SO GS
Roger Clemens Yankees 2000 ALCS 9 1 0 2 15 98
Babe Ruth Red Sox 1916 World 14 6 1 3 4 97
Don Larsen Yankees 1956 World 9 0 0 0 7 94
Ed Walsh W. Sox 1906 World 9 2 0 1 12 94
Bob Gibson Cardinals 1968 World 9 5 0 1 17 93
Ken Holtzman A's 1973 ALCS 11 3 1 1 7 93
Kevin Brown Padres 1998 NLDS 8 2 0 2 16 92
Bill Dinneen Red Sox 1903 World 9 3 0 2 11 90
George Earnshaw Phi. A's 1930 World 9 2 0 1 8 90
Monte Pearson Yankees 1939 World 9 2 0 1 8 90
Livan Hernandez Marlins 1997 NLCS 9 3 1 2 15 90
Vida Blue A's 1974 ALCS 9 2 0 0 7 90
Mike Scott Astros 1986 NLCS 9 5 0 1 15 90
Nolan Ryan Astros 1986 NLCS 9 2 1 1 12 90
Method: Start with 50. Add one point for each out recorded, one point for each strikeout, and two points for each inning completed after the fourth. Subtract one point for each walk, two points for each hit, four points for each run and two points for each unearned run.


Baseball Scoreboard

NY Yankees Clubhouse

Seattle Clubhouse

Rodriguez, Piniella have words for Clemens

ALCS notebook: It's official, Neagle to start Game 5

NY Yankees 5
Seattle 0

St. Louis 8
NY Mets 2

 Joe Torre and Roger Clemens answer questions about the Yankees' Game 4 victory.
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 Roger Clemens talks with ESPN's Mark Schwarz about his one-hit shutout in Game 4.
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 Derek Jeter talks with ESPN's Peter Gammons.
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 Despite the brush backs, Alex Rodriguez couldn't help but compliment Roger Clemens.
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 Roger Clemens felt a little different about those inside pitches to Alex Rodriguez.
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 Joe Torre felt Roger Clemens' performance tonight was legendary.
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 Manager Lou Piniella comments on Roger Clemens' aggressive pitching techniques.
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