Roger Clemens was just too much.
Clemens, who has 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.
"That's the best stuff I've ever seen as far as having all your pitches working and putting the ball where you want it to," Kansas City's Dean Palmer said. "His forkball was (as) close to unhittable as you can get."
Clemens struck out 15 or more for the ninth time in his career and surpassed the AL strikeout high for the season. Randy Johnson struck out 15 in a game three times this season with Seattle and Clemens had 15 himself against Anaheim on Aug. 15.
"My adrenaline is still going now right now," Clemens said. "My pitches were all working and I just tried to pour it on when I could and just mix it up."
| Clemenwas pumped after his stellar performance against the Royals. (AP) |
Clemens walked off the mound to a standing ovation from the 26,117 at the SkyDome after posting his second shutout this season and the 43rd of his career.
Clemens (16-6), who hasn't lost since May 29, matched San Diego's Kevin Brown for the major league-high winning streak this season.
The four-time Cy Young Award winner didn't allow a hit until Larry Sutton singled with one out in the fourth. Clemens then retired 10 straight before Palmer singled with two out in the seventh. He allowed three hits and walked none.
"He had just unbelievable stuff tonight, probably the best performance I've ever caught," catcher Darrin Fletcher said. "I caught a perfect game through nine in San Diego one time when Pedro Martinez was throwing, but as far as punch-outs are concerned and total dominance of lineup, this was the best."
Clemens, who reeled off 11 straight victories last season en route to the Cy Young Award, tied a club record he shares with Dennis Lamp.
He is unbeaten in his last 16 starts and dominated in his last start, throwing a three-hitter in a 7-0 shutout of Seattle on Thursday.
Asked about the possibility of winning another Cy Young award, Clemens said:
"I don't have any control over that, but we'll just have to wait and see."
The Blue Jays took a 1-0 lead in the first when Kansas City starter Chris Haney (5-6) walked Jose Cruz Jr. with the bases loaded.
After Haney loaded the bases in the seventh on a walk, single and a hit batsman, Ricky Bones relieved. Craig Grebeck then hit a two-run single to give the Blue Jays a 3-0 lead.
"Once we got a 3-0 lead I continued to be aggressive. I threw up and down the strike zone, and East and West and I made them swing at my pitch," Clemens said. "You've just got to hang on and hope the other guy cracks first and fortunately that's what happened tonight."
Haney gave up three earned runs on five hits and three walks in 6-plus innings.
© 1998 SportsLine USA, Inc. All rights reserved