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Special Ks: Clemens 4th in strikeouts

SHARE Special Ks: Clemens 4th in strikeouts

Whatever Tom Seaver taught Roger Clemens, it's working. And it has been for a long, long time.

Clemens rocketed past Seaver into fourth place on the career strikeout list, winning his 10th straight decision as the New York Yankees beat the Toronto Blue Jays 7-2 Monday night.

As teammates with the 1986 Boston Red Sox, Clemens often sat beside Seaver in the dugout, trying to absorb everything the aging ace knew about pitching.

Maybe the most important lesson he learned was staying power.

"Longevity," the 38-year-old Clemens said. "That's what you have to have when you're chasing down guys so rich in history."

Clemens, in the 18th year of a storied career, won the first of his five Cy Young Awards in 1986. He might be headed for a sixth this season.

Seaver, a first-ballot Hall of Famer, won three Cy Youngs and 311 games during a 20-year career that ended after that '86 campaign.

Power pitchers with similar styles, both right-handers relied on explosive leg drive and textbook mechanics to stay strong for so long.

Clemens (14-1) tied Arizona's Curt Schilling for most wins in the majors. His 274th victory put him ahead of Yankees Hall of Famer Red Ruffing for 27th place.

Clemens is unbeaten in 11 starts, the longest streak by a Yankees pitcher since Jimmy Key won 11 straight in 1994. Clemens improved to 9-0 this year at Yankee Stadium, drawing standing ovations when he passed Seaver and again when he left after 6 2/3 innings.

Clemens caught Luis Lopez looking at a fastball leading off the fifth inning for his sixth strikeout and No. 3,641 lifetime, one more than Seaver. The Rocket struck out eight to finish the night with 3,643.

Next up on the strikeout list is Bert Blyleven, third with 3,701. Nolan Ryan holds the career record with 5,714 and Steve Carlton is second with 4,136.

Tino Martinez hit his 250th career home run, and Paul O'Neill, Jorge Posada and Shane Spencer also connected for New York.

Steve Parris (4-6) took the loss.

INDIANS 2, WHITE SOX 0 Rookie C.C. Sabathia took a shutout into the seventh inning and Juan Gonzalez hit his 26th homer, lifting Cleveland into first place in the AL Central.

Sabathia (10-3) allowed two hits as the host Indians won for the sixth time in seven games and moved two percentage points ahead of Minnesota, taking the division lead for the first time since June 26.

MARINERS 3, TWINS 2: Jamie Moyer (10-5) allowed both runs and seven hits in 6 2/3 innings, striking out seven as Seattle completed a four-game sweep at the Metrodome.

Minnesota has lost nine of 12 since the All-Star break. Brad Radke (10-7) dropped his third consecutive start, giving up all three runs — one was unearned — and nine hits in eight innings.

Kazuhiro Sasaki got four straight outs for his major league-leading 33rd save.

ANGELS 9, ORIOLES 4: Troy Glaus had three RBIs, and Anaheim scored all its runs with two outs in winning for the seventh time in eight games. Baltimore has lost seven of eight and 14 of 17.

Ismael Valdes (7-5) allowed two runs and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings at Camden Yards.

ATHLETICS 7, ROYALS 2: Tim Hudson won his fifth consecutive decision, allowing two runs and five hits in seven innings for visiting Oakland.

Hudson (12-5) is 5-0 with a 2.11 ERA in his past six starts, a major factor in helping Oakland (53-46) get back into the AL wild-card race following an 8-18 start.

Ron Gant hit a three-run homer for the A's, who are 15-5 in July — baseball's best record this month — and 9-3 since the All-Star break.