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Clemens can't beat Marlins as Astro either

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Published March 14, 2004

MEXICO CITY - Roger Clemens could not beat the Marlins this time, either.

The Rocket gave up two runs and seven hits in three innings Saturday, taking the loss in Florida's 6-1 victory over the Astros.

The last time Clemens faced the Marlins he was wearing a Yankees uniform in the World Series. He got a no-decision in Game 4 in October and walked off the mound to a boisterous ovation in what was supposed to be his final appearance before retiring.

Clemens, who came back to play for his hometown Astros, gave up homers to Juan Pierre and Miguel Cabrera. The Rocket finished with three strikeouts and was relieved by Wade Miller in the fourth inning.

"Every time I go, and the longer I go, I feel better," said Clemens, who still characterized himself as "nowhere close right now" to 100 percent.

Marlins starter Darren Oliver held Houston hitless through 31/3 innings before Jeff Kent homered to right-center.

ANGELS: Kelvim Escobar, one of four high-profile free agents signed in the offseason by the Angels, allowed six hits and three runs in two innings against the Rangers. ... Vladimir Guerrero (wrist bruise) and Troy Glaus (sprained ankle) returned to the lineup after sitting out a game.

ATHLETICS: Eric Byrnes drove in two runs, and Jermaine Dye had his second straight multihit game against the Giants. Starter Rich Harden gave up two runs on three hits and five walks over 22/3 innings.

BRAVES: John Smoltz needed just seven pitches to retire the side in his first outing against the Yankees.

Smoltz invited his good friend Tiger Woods to watch him pitch and put on an efficient show. The All-Star closer threw six strikes in getting two groundouts and a soft fly in the sixth inning, his first appearance since offseason elbow surgery.

Smoltz's performance overshadowed another big day for new Atlanta rightfielder J.D. Drew, who hit his fifth home run of the spring.

Drew has 14 RBIs.

Against the Reds, Johnny Estrada had three hits and scored three runs, and Andruw Jones singled three times.

BREWERS: Chad Magruder went 3-for-3 with a home run and two RBIs against the Royals.

CUBS: Sammy Sosa homered against the White Sox. Also, MLB ruled that Sosa's assistant, Julian Martinez, may not use the team clubhouse or work with the team during pregame practice. ... The possibility that pitcher Mark Prior (Achilles' tendon) will make his first regular-season start April 8 is remote, the Chicago Tribune reported. Prior will play catch on flat ground today. If all goes well, he will throw from the mound Tuesday.

DODGERS: Jeff Weaver pitched four solid innings, allowing one run and six hits to the Twins.

EXPOS: Frank Robinson, 68, agreed on a one-year contract to manage for a third season in 2004, reported. ... Nick Johnson and Orlando Cabrera each had two hits against the Indians. ... Luis Lopez hit a three-run homer, and Joe Vitiello and Danny Rombley each had a two-run shot against the Tigers. ... Tim Raines' No.30 will be retired during a ceremony on June 19 at Olympic Stadium.

GIANTS: Barry Bonds took batting practice for the first time since injuring his back Wednesday, though he still is a few days from returning to the lineup. "He'll probably play Tuesday at the earliest unless he changes his mind," trainer Stan Conte said. "He didn't crawl out of the cage, so that's a good sign." ... Infielder Ray Durham was held out a second day with stiffness in his neck. Edgardo Alfonzo (sore right forearm) was in the lineup against the Athletics after missing four days.

INDIANS: Reliever Mark Wohlers has decided to take this season off for personal reasons, which could signal the end of his career. ... Casey Blake hit a two-run homer, and Jason Bere pitched three scoreless innings against the Tigers. ... Ben Broussard had two hits against the Expos.

MARINERS: Quinton McCracken homered from both sides of the plate, and Australian prospect Travis Blackley threw three scoreless innings against the Rockies. ... Manager Bob Melvin named 41-year-old lefty Jamie Moyer the opening-day starter April 6 against the visiting Angels.

METS: Todd Zeile hit a three-run homer, and Jose Reyes had three hits against the Cardinals. ... Jason Phillips homered against the Orioles.

PIRATES: Kris Benson doesn't expect to pitch for the team past the end of spring training. Benson, who can become a free agent after the season, said he has been told by his agent that five teams are interested in trading for him. He says the list of suitors includes the Yankees, Phillies, Cardinals, Braves and Red Sox.

RED SOX: Derek Lowe pitched five solid innings, and Brian Daubach hit a grand slam against the Blue Jays. Dave McCarty, Andy Dominique and Terry Shumpert also homered.

RANGERS: Hank Blalock went 4-for-4 with four RBIs, and Adrian Gonzalez had three hits and three RBIs against the Angels.

ROYALS: Carlos Beltran (right forearm soreness) returned after missing four games and homered in his first at-bat.

TWINS: Kyle Lohse allowed one run on three hits in four innings against the Dodgers. Luis Rivas went 2-for-2 with a double.

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