Even though Roger Clemens struck them out 15 times, the Anaheim Angels managed to beat Toronto 6-3 in 11 innings Saturday and hold on to first place in the AL West.
"That's the best I've seen anybody pitch against me or my team," Anaheim's Jim Edmonds said. "We've played tougher games but he was just baffling."
Clemens allowed two runs and six hits in eight-plus innings, walking one and striking out 15 or more for the eighth time in his career.
"I had all three (pitches) working, good velocity, good movement and good location," he said. "But once the Ks are mounting up, you don't really realize it because your losing the ballgame."
The four-time Cy Young Award winner struck out the side twice, increasing his career total in that category to 125, and matched the AL strikeout high for the season, accomplished three times by Randy Johnson with Seattle.
Clemens, who had struck out 20 in a nine-inning game twice and shares the record with Chicago Cubs rookie Kerry Wood, had 14 strikeouts in the first seven innings but fanned just one batter in the eighth.
It was the sixth double-digit strikeout game of the season for Clemens, the 88th of his career.
"You have to give credit to Darrin Fletcher," said Clemens of his catcher. "He recognized how much velocity I had with my fastball, and we went with it and changed speeds."
Anaheim, which has won six of seven, remained a half-game ahead of Texas in the AL West. The Angels broke a 2-2 tie in the 11th after Jim Edmonds doubled off Steve Sinclair (0-1) leading off and Nerio Rodriguez oaded the bases on Todd Greene's single and Matt Walbeck's one-out walk.
Gary DiSarcina fouled out to the catcher, but Rodriguez walked Orlando Palmeiro and Randy Velarde, putting Anaheim ahead 4-2. Garret Anderson followed with a two-run single.
"When you get behind in the count and walk people, that's going to happen," Rodriguez said. "I just couldn't find the strike zone."
Rich DeLucia (2-4) pitched 2 1/3 hitless innings. Mike Fetters allowed a solo homer to Kevin Brown in the bottom of the 11th.
Clemens left after allowing a leadoff single to Tim Salmon in the ninth. The Angels got a runner to third with two outs, but Paul Quantrill retired Phil Nevin on a comebacker.
Anaheim's Omar Olivares gave up two runs and seven hits in 7 2/3 innings.
"With Roger on the mound you know your not going to score a lot runs, but we got a great outing from our starter," Anaheim manager Terry Collins said.
Darrin Fletcher's RBI single put the Blue Jays ahead in the second, but Anaheim tied it on consecutive doubles by Gary DiSarcina and Orlando Palmerio in the third. Tim Salmon, 3-for-4 with two doubles, hit an RBI double in the sixth, but Alex Gonzalez retied the score in the seventh with his 10th homer.
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