Final

Series: Game 3 of 3

San Francisco won 2-1

Game 1: Monday, April 5
San Francisco5Final
Houston4
Game 2: Tuesday, April 6
San Francisco7Final
Houston5
Game 3: Wednesday, April 7
San Francisco1Final
Houston10

Giants 1

(2-1, 2-1 away)

Astros 10

(1-2, 1-2 home)

7:05 PM ET, April 7, 2004

Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas 

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SF 000000010 1 4 0
HOU 11201032 - 10 12 0

W: R. Clemens (1-0)

L: J. Williams (0-1)

Rocket allows one hit in seven scoreless

HOUSTON (AP) -- Hard to imagine a better homecoming for Roger Clemens.

Looking nothing like a guy who had called it quits, Clemens dominated Barry Bonds and the Giants, holding them to one hit over seven scoreless innings in his Houston debut and pitching the Astros past San Francisco 10-1 Wednesday night.

"It sure was nice coming home," Clemens said. "It was just real enjoyable."

Only Ray Durham's clean single to center field in the third inning prevented a most special night at Minute Maid Park from becoming a truly historic one.

Boosted by an emotional talk with former boss George Steinbrenner, Clemens posted his 311th victory and tied former teammate and mentor Tom Seaver for 16th place on the career list.

"It's nice to get the first one underway," Clemens said. "It's been a long time coming since I first decided to play."

Not a bad comeback for a guy who retired -- albeit for only 78 days -- after last season. At that time, it appeared the standing ovation he drew from Florida Marlins players and fans in Game 4 of the World Series would be his farewell.

Instead, a sellout crowd of 42,863 that included former President Bush and Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan, plus family members and friends in Clemens' suite, began cheering even before the first pitch of his NL debut.

"I was just hoping my energy level would stay at a high level and it did," Clemens said.

Pitching just 20 minutes from his house, the setting was certainly different as the 41-year-old Rocket launched his 21st season after stops with Boston, Toronto and the New York Yankees.

But while it looked and sounded different -- a star on his cap and "Deep in the Heart of Texas" playing during the seventh-inning stretch -- it was vintage Clemens on the mound.

And this, too: He delivered a hit-and-run single in his first at-bat. He kept the ball as a souvenir.

Clemens pitched Houston to its first win of the season, a day after fellow former Yankees hurler Andy Pettitte was hit hard in his Astros debut.

"Roger picked us up and we got a tremendous performance from him," said Jeff Bagwell, who hit his 420th career home run. "The fans seemed very excited. It's nice that they got a chance to see what they were looking for."

Clemens struck out nine, including Bonds looking twice at 94 mph fastballs. Bonds left town with 659 home runs, still one behind his godfather, Willie Mays, for third place on the career list.

It was the first time in major league history that a pitcher with 300 wins had faced a hitter with 600 home runs.

"Good for him. Instead of doing it here, let him go home and do it in front of people who have seen him grow up," Clemens said.

Bonds drew an intentional walk the first time he came to the plate, flipping aside his elbow guard when the count went to 2-0. The next time up, Bonds dropped his bat after a 3-2 pitch and headed toward first, only to hear plate umpire Mike DiMuro call strike three.

"Me and Roger have a lot of respect for each other, there's no doubt about that," Bonds said. "He'll come at me sometimes and he'll have his way. Sometimes I'll have my way. Tonight, it went his way.

"Roger and I just have a good time," he said. "It's not such a big deal to us. We're both up in age. It's not like we're young kids. They should have called this an old-timers' game."

The day began with Clemens calling Yankees' pitching guru Billy Connors to check on his health. During their conversation, Connors told Clemens: "Call the Boss."

So Clemens phoned the Yankees owner, and a heart-to-heart talk followed. Clemens even got choked up when he described it after the game.

"The call got very emotional. It was just the things he had to say to me. He called me a warrior and I told him how much he had meant to me," Clemens said.

"Obviously, it was a pretty long call, but I had to get off the phone. My voice was breaking up and his was, too," he said.

Clemens blew away pitcher Jerome Williams (0-1) for career strikeout No. 4,100 to open the third, beginning a string in which he struck out nine of 14 batters.

The Houston hitters made it easy for Clemens.

Bagwell drove in three runs, Jeff Kent hit a three-run homer and Richard Hidalgo also connected.

Craig Biggio doubled twice and scored each time as the Astros took a 4-0 lead after three innings. He later added an RBI single.

The Giants finished with four hits.

Game notes


The Giants were trying to complete a season-opening, three-game sweep on the road for the third straight year. ... The Astros avoided their first 0-3 start since 1993.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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