CHICAGO (AP) -- One of baseball's most celebrated pitchers earned
his first victory at one of the game's most storied parks.
"When you have an opportunity to pitch in this type of setting,
regardless of how you feel, you want to make the appearance because
people come from all over to watch you perform," Clemens said.
"I enjoy hearing the fans around the stadium, the things they
say," he said.
Clemens (8-0) came back from three straight no-decisions with
seven sharp innings to earn his 318th career victory, tying Phil
Niekro for the 14th place on the all-time list.
Clemens' only other start at Wrigley came last June when he
pitched for the Yankees in search of his 300th win. He wound up
taking the loss when the Cubs rallied against New York's bullpen.
His appearance a year later certainly wasn't as emotionally
charged, but he enjoyed it just the same.
"It's a totally different situation and atmosphere. I had a
respiratory problem, too, there. I felt a lot better about my
health out there today," said Clemens, who wore short sleeves and
blew on his hands during a cool, 60-degree afternoon.
Clemens has won 12 straight regular-season decisions since Aug.
Not bad for a 41-year-old, who came out of a short retirement in
"I'm not too worried about streaks. I think they're great
because we're winning," Clemens said. "I don't put a lot of stock
into them. I know that they could change at any time. So you want
to try and ride them."
Clemens allowed one run -- on a broken-bat single -- and five hits
in seven innings Wednesday. He struck out five and walked two in
his 108-pitch outing.
"This is a special time. I think we have to appreciate -- those
of us who really like baseball, whether you pull for the Astros or
not -- just to see what he is doing," Astros manager Jimy Williams
It was Berkman's 18th RBI in his last 15 games, and he has now
reached base in 33 straight.
Houston outhit Chicago 13-6 and sent the Cubs to their seventh
loss in nine games.
"The fun of it is getting to pitch against somebody like Roger
Clemens, as good as he is right now," Clement said.
"It's a challenge and he was a little bit more up to the
challenge. ... He threw it like he's been throwing it all year.
He's tough to beat right now."
The Astros tacked on two runs in the seventh after Everett got
his second bunt single. Berkman walked with two outs and Michael
Lamb and Ausmus followed with RBI singles to finish Clement.
Richard Hidalgo drew a bases-loaded walk in the ninth off Cubs
reliever Michael Wuertz.
"You're talking about one of the greatest out there,"
Hollandsworth said of Clemens.
"He is what he is and you see what he is doing at his age, it's
The Astros pushed across a run in the first when Everett's fly
ball down the left-field line fell in front of Moises Alou for a
double. Everett moved to third on an infield out and scored when
Clement threw a ball four wild pitch to Kent.
^Notes:@ Clemens moved ahead of Christy Mathewson for the
second-best winning percentage among pitchers with 300 victories
(318-160, .665). Clemens trails only Lefty Grove (300-141, .680).
... Clemens' career best start to a season came in 1986 with the
Red Sox when he was 14-0. Houston's club record is 10-0 set by Juan
Agosto in 1988. ... Rey Ordonez, just called up from Triple-A last
week, was in Chicago's lineup at shortstop and had a fifth-inning
double off Clemens. He entered the game with a .438 average against
Clemens with seven hits in 16 at-bats. ... The Astros won two of
three at Wrigley and have beaten the Cubs four times in five
meetings this season.
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