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Clemens starts Yankees era; Sosa homers

SHARE Clemens starts Yankees era; Sosa homers

Roger Clemens started his New York Yankees career Saturday, while Mark McGwire failed to hit any rockets in his spring debut.

Sammy Sosa, meanwhile, took a 1-0 lead over his rival in the 1999 home run derby -- OK, it's only spring training, but it's still a home run.At Haines City, Fla., Clemens made his first start since the Yankees acquired him last month from Toronto, pitching two innings as a New York split squad lost to the Kansas City Royals 9-1.

"Every spring I get excited about the challenges," he said Saturday. "This year, there is a new environment and my adrenaline was pumping."

Clemens, who said he threw his fastball at 75-80 percent, wound up with a loss, giving up three runs and seven hits in three innings. But more than the "L" next to his name in the boxscore, there was this strange sight -- an "NY" on his cap.

"I was focused on just trying to not do anything crazy as far as my legs," he said. "I've done that before when I've been too revved up."

At Jupiter, Fla., Big Mac looked like a regular ballplayer preparing for the season, not baseball's new single-season home run king. McGwire, whose 450-foot home runs in last year's spring opener set off his record-setting spree of 70 homers, flied out to center and was hit by a pitch in his two plate appearances in the St. Louis Cardinals' 4-3 loss to the Montreal Expos.

"We just wanted the get him two at-bats," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "It's early in the spring. He still has time to loosen up."

McGwire, who beat the Cubs' Sammy Sosa 70-66 for the home run record, received a standing ovation before his first at-bat as the 6,938 fans thanked him for the glorious run he took the sport on last year and urged an encore in 1999.

At Mesa, Ariz., Sosa connected for a two-run shot off Chandler Martin in the third inning of Chicago's 11-7 victory over the Rockies. Colorado's Todd Helton hit two home runs and drove in three runs.

In other games:

PIRATES 15, RANGERS 6: At Port Charlotte, Fla., Kevin Young homered off Aaron Sele on his first pitch after signing a $24 million, four-year contract extension.

INDIANS 6, TIGERS 2: At Lakeland, Fla., Cleveland's Bartolo Colon pitched three scoreless innings and Enrique Wilson hit a three-run homer.

BRAVES 7, DEVIL RAYS 5: At St. Petersburg, Fla., Javy Lopez hit a three-run homer in the first, Tony Graffanino hit a pair of homers and Walt Weiss also homered.

PHILLIES 12, BLUE JAYS 5: At Clearwater, Fla., Rico Brogna homered, doubled and drove in five runs.

TWINS 8, ORIOLES 1: At Fort Myers, Fla., Corey Koskie went 2-for-3 with a three-run homer.

ASTROS 7, MARLINS 1: At Melbourne, Fla., Jeff Bagwell hit a two-run homer and Livan Hernandez allowed six runs in 1 2/3 innings.

METS 7, DODGERS 3: At Port St. Lucie, Fla., Rickey Henderson singled and scored in his first spring at-bat. Raul Mondesi homered off Hideo Nomo, but the Dodgers made six errors.

RED SOX (ss) 7, YANKEES (ss) 4: At Tampa, Fla., Ramiro Mendoza allowed one run and three hits in three innings.

REDS 6, RED SOX (ss) 4: At Sarasota, Fla., Pedro Martinez gave up four runs in the first inning -- one earned -- and Pat Listach homered.

PADRES 12, MARINERS 11: At Peoria, Ariz., Damion Jackson went 3-for-5, stole a base and scored three runs.

BREWERS 15, GIANTS 4: At Scottsdale, Ariz, Alex Ochoa hit a two-run homer and Bobby Hughes was 2-for-3 with two RBIs as Milwaukee got 20 hits.

ATHLETICS 8, ANGELS 7: At Phoenix, Matt Stairs had two hits and drove in four runs as Oakland won its third straight.

DIAMONDBACKS 11, WHITE SOX 6: At Tucson, Ariz. Tony Batista hit a solo home and drove in two runs as Arizona won its third straight.