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Jays rock Clemens, Yanks

©Associated Press
August 30, 2002

TORONTO -- Rookie Josh Phelps was too busy living out a boyhood dream to think about a strike.

Phelps homered twice off Roger Clemens, leading Esteban Loaiza and the Blue Jays over the Yankees 7-4 Thursday night.

"It was just one of those fairy tales that actually came true," the 24-year-old Phelps said. "It was one of those games you play in the back yard as a kid growing up, and you think about who you are batting against."

Carlos Delgado also homered off Clemens, helping prevent him from earning his 292nd career victory.

A crowd of 32,679, including many Yankees fans, watched the final game at SkyDome before today's strike deadline.

"When you are playing the game you don't have time to think about it," Phelps said.

Alfonso Soriano hit his 32nd homer for the Yankees, who saw their three-game winning streak end. Bernie Williams went 0-for-4, finishing his season-high 19-game hitting streak.

"We couldn't do anything right," New York manager Joe Torre said.

Loaiza pitched his second complete game of the season. He gave up nine hits, walked three and struck out five.

Phelps' second-inning homer off Clemens landed in the first row of the upper deck in leftfield, the 10th time in SkyDome history a ball has reached the fifth deck.

Phelps' ninth homer gave Toronto a 7-2 lead in the fifth.

Clemens, who entered 7-1 against his former team since being traded to New York, allowed seven runs on 10 hits in five innings.

"He just had bad location," Torre said. "He was laboring."

MARINERS 2, TWINS 0: Desi Relaford ruined Rick Reed's masterpiece with a leadoff homer in the eighth, helping Jamie Moyer and visiting Seattle salvage a disappointing week.

Relaford and Ben Davis, whose sacrifice fly gave Seattle insurance in the ninth, will be rewarded for their run-scoring swings by manager Lou Piniella.

"I told the players before the game that I'm buying steaks for RBIs," Piniella said. "I guess I'm buying two steaks. I was hoping to have to buy eight or nine."

The Mariners, four games behind idle Oakland in the West, won for the second time in six games and kept their second-half record from dropping to .500. Seattle, which tied Anaheim in the wild-card race pending the Angels' late game against the Rays, managed five runs in the series, and several of their experienced hitters are in slumps.

"It's getting down to the close right now," Relaford said, "and we need all parts of the game. Our offense hasn't been there."

The Mariners left the Metrodome to return to Seattle, where they're scheduled to play Kansas City this weekend.

"Let's hope we swing the bats as well or better in our own ballpark and start getting on a roll," Piniella said.

RANGERS 9, ORIOLES 6: Ivan Rodriguez hit his fifth career grand slam to complete a comeback from a 6-0 deficit as Texas capped a three-game sweep.

Rodriguez's slam came in the sixth off reliever Rick Bauer, who had struck out the first two batters in the inning. Baltimore, which led 6-0 in the third, lost its sixth in a row, matching its season high from the first week.

Texas, in last place in the West for the third straight season, has won 10 of 14 overall. The Rangers have won seven straight home games for the first time since May 2000.

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