Cooled Off in Colorado, Rocket No Help
After taking two out of three against the Mets, the New York Yankees traveled to Colorado to continue interleague play. Coors Field is usually the place to be to get out of an offensive slump. But the Yankees seemed to go into a collective rut in the thin air, only scoring five runs combined in a three-game sweep at the hands of the Rockies.
On Wednesday, Roger Clemens took the hill after two strong outings in his comeback. But apparently the Rocket did not fly to well in the altitude of the Rocky Mountains and left the game after only 4 1/3 innings, taking the loss in a 4-3 decision.
"I expect to win, so it's disappointing," Clemens said to reporters. "On the same page, I know it's not going to come easy. Nothing's going to come easy to this ballclub."
Clemens will have to wait another turn to become baseball's first 350-game winner since 1963, when Warren Spahn made history. Part of his undoing came in the second inning, when he surrendered two long balls. Garrett Atkins and Troy Tulowitzki took the Rocket deep. Hideki Matsui also went yard, belting a two-run home run in the fifth inning.
Former Met Kaz Matsui came around to score in the bottom of the fifth when he reached on a one-out single, stole second base, and scored when Matt Holiday hit a single up the middle. That was all for Clemens and both teams only put up one more run each the rest of the game.
The low scoring was in complete contrast to the last time the Yankees visited Colorado. In 2002, they scored a whopping 70 runs in three games, which was a major league record.
"They outplayed us in these three games," Johnny Damon informed reporters following the sweep. "Those guys out-pitched us, they out-hit us. They played the game right."
With the loss, the Bronx Bombers fell back to the .500 mark at 35-35, 10 1/2 games behind Boston in the division. They have four teams ahead of them in the Wild Card race (Detroit, Oakland, Seattle and Minnesota), all within seven games. So the gap has been closed some in the past month.
The Yankees continue their west coast trip with a three-game set in San Francisco against Barry Bonds and the Giants. An interesting footnote is that Bonds has only hit one career home run against the Yankees and 747 against all the other teams. With eight home runs to go to tie Hank Aaron's all-time record, Bonds probably will not do it against New York.
Following the series in San Francisco, the Yankees will head to Camden Yards to play the Baltimore Orioles, who just fired their manager, Sam Perlozzo. The Yankees will return home on June 29 against Oakland.