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Clemens clutch against Twins
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10/04/2003  4:09 PM ET 
Clemens clutch against Twins
Veteran righty picks up victory with seven solid frames
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Roger Clemens fanned six and walked one in his Game 3 victory over the Twins. (Paul Battaglia/AP)
MINNEAPOLIS -- Roger Clemens, pitching high-noon baseball in the twilight of his career, on Saturday moved the New York Yankees within one win of playing for an American League pennant.

The 41-year-old Rocket held Minnesota to a run and five hits across seven innings as the Yankees downed the Twins, 3-1, for a 2-games-to-1 lead in the American League Division Series.

Clemens, starting the game amid the uncertainty that it could be the last of his Hall of Fame career, struck out six while issuing only one walk -- to the first batter he faced, Shannon Stewart.

Clemens also kept quiet a postseason record Metrodome crowd of 55,915, which had begun the mid-day affair moving the decibel-meter into jet hangar levels.

The Yankees took Minnesota's loudest shot and stuck Hideki Matsui's sock in it.

Mitsui gave them the lead for good with a two-run homer in the second off Twins right-hander Kyle Lohse -- the historic first postseason homer by a Japanese player.

But pitching retains its hold on an ALDS that has produced a total of 13 runs in three games. The Yanks own their 2-1 edge despite having been held to eight runs.

Clemens continued the solid run of a New York rotation that had inspired considerable concern entering the postseason, particularly among those recalling its ruination last October by the Angels.

In that ALDS, Mike Mussina, Andy Pettitte and Clemens gave up 22 hits and 12 runs in 12 2/3 innings.

In this one, the same trio has given the Twins 16 hits and five runs in 21 innings.

David Wells was the hardest-hit member of the 2002 quartet, allowing eight runs in 4 2/3 innings of the finale.

Wells' chance to make good comes Sunday afternoon, when he gets the first shot at putting the Yankees into the American League Championship Series.

Tom Singer is a reporter for This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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