Roger Clemens won his 20th straight decision -- four short of the major league record -- holding baseball's best lineup in check and leading the Yankees over the Cleveland Indians, 11-5, last night in New York.
"That streak is hard to believe," Manager Joe Torre said. "He had to have a little luck sometimes with the no-decisions. But mostly, it's all him. That's why he's headed to the Hall of Fame when he hangs it up."
Clemens (5-0) has not lost in 30 starts since May 29, 1998, when he fell to Cleveland while pitching for Toronto.
The winning streak is the longest ever in the AL, and tied with Rube Marquard for the third-best in major league history. Carl Hubbell set the overall record in 1936-37 and Roy Face won 22 straight in 1958-59.
"The streak is neat," Clemens said. "I want to win every time I go out. I feel that's my responsibility as the number one guy."
While Clemens wasn't dominating last night, he was effective enough, giving up three runs in 6 2/3 innings. He allowed seven hits to an Indians team that is averaging 6.7 runs per game.
"That's a great hitting club," Clemens said. "They keep coming after you. Eventually you have to shut them down."
After allowing three runs in the first four innings, Clemens did. He left with New York leading 6-3 and two runners on in the seventh.
Jason Grimsley walked Roberto Alomar, loading the bases for Manny Ramirez, the majors' RBI leader. Ramirez lined a ball to right-center that Bernie Williams ran down for the third out.
"It doesn't matter who's up there," Grimsley said. "I just have to make my pitch."
Ramirez, accused by the Yankees on Monday of corking his bat, went 0 for 5 with his 64th RBI.
Derek Jeter went 2 for 3 with three RBI and has reached base by hit or walk in all 50 games for the Yankees this season. He walked and scored in the first inning and hit a two-run double in the fourth off Dave Burba (5-2) to put New York up 5-3.
"Jeter's on the sun and we're on the earth," Clemens said. "He's hotter than a pistol."
"If I'm on the sun, then he's somewhere else," Jeter responded. "Because that man hasn't lost in more than a year."
RED SOX 5, TIGERS 4: The surging Red Sox started June the way they ended May, coming from behind to beat visiting Detroit on Brian Daubach's tiebreaking home run in the eighth inning.
The rookie's fifth homer of the season -- Boston's fourth of the game -- sent Detroit to its eighth loss in 10 games. Doug Brocail (1-2) had just relieved starter Jeff Weaver.
ATHLETICS 5, DEVIL RAYS 2: Kenny Rogers won his 15th straight decision at Oakland and Eric Chavez hit a go-ahead, three-run double. The A's won despite being outhit 10-3. They took advantage of three errors to score a pair of unearned runs.
ANGELS 5, TWINS 1: Ken Hill came within one strike of his first shutout since 1996, pitching host Anaheim over Minnesota. Hill (2-4) had allowed four hits until Corey Koskie homered on a 3-2 pitch with two outs in the ninth.
WHITE SOX 6, BLUE JAYS 2: In Toronto, Frank Thomas had four hits and Mike Sirotka pitched eight strong innings.
RANGERS 3, ROYALS 1: Mark McLemore singled to key a three-run rally in the eighth, and host Texas won its eighth straight. The Rangers' winning streak is their longest since 1989.