Vintage Roger Clemens sinks
26, 1989 ... The greatness of Roger Clemens
was recalled in the ninth inning last night, when with two out and
the crowd begging for one last strikeout, Clemens pumped fastball
after fastball at Jack Howell until he finally willed that it
occurred, ending the game.
It has been awhile since anyone posted K cards at Fenway, but Clemens produced
one of those epics that were almost commonplace through last season. He struck
out 13, a season-high, walked one and threw 158 pitches in a 5-2 victory over
The Sox scored three runs in the first inning against righthander Kirk McCaskill
(14-8), who entered with the sixth-lowest ERA in the league. The Sox first four
batters had hits in the inning, which could have turned when Washington, playing
right field, made a bare-handed grab to prevent a ball hit by Reed from hopping
into the stands for a ground-rule double.
Ellis Burks and Mike Greenwell (two RBIs) followed with consecutive run-scoring
singles, however, and Nick Esasky drove in his 35th run of the month with a
ground ball that was close to being a double play. Danny Heep drove in a run
with a two-out single off McCaskill in the fifth. Greenwell's sacrifice fly in
the seventh scored Reed, who had led off the inning with a double.
Clemens had not struck out more than 10 batters since June 16th. (He struck out
10 or more 12 times last year). He struck out Howell and Lance Parrish four
times each. In the seventh, after fastball-hitting fiend Chili Davis and Brian
Downing led off with singles, he struck out Parrish and Howell in succession. He
had two strikes on pinch hitter Tony Armas in the same inning before Armas drove
in a run with a single. But he struck out the next batter, Devon White, to end
The night started inauspiciously for Roger. Washington, the second batter, took
his first pitch into the visitors' bullpen. Clemens issued his only walk in the
third immediately after a freakish play that at other times this season would
have resulted in a rally for the other team. Washington chopped a ball that hit
in front of the plate and carried toward first base.
Esasky stood waiting, but when the ball came down, its English turned it at
about a 45-degree angle past Esasky, who could only gawk. Clemens then walked
Johnny Ray, but he got out of the inning by retiring Wally Joyner on a ground
The Sox have won 10 of its last 11 games, and tonight they continued to play as
if on something of a roll. Jody Reed, a last-minute replacement for Marty
Barrett (stiff neck), had four of the team's 13 hits. The team is hitting .367
during this home stand. The pitchers have allowed three runs or fewer in nine of
the last 11 games, and team ERA, 4.06, is the lowest this season.