With his team on the verge of losing three straight, Roger Clemens looked like an ace again.
"Tonight I was able to keep the momentum in our own dugout and the guys fought hard," Clemens said. "Milton pitched a great game."
Clemens (11-5), winner of the last two AL Cy Young Awards, has not shown that dominant form often this season.
But he faced the minimum 24 batters through eight innings in improving to 20-10 lifetime against the Twins. He struck out two and walked one in throwing 110 pitches.
"He's tried at times this year to just be so fine," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "But I think he's come here for one reason, to get to the postseason and World Series. I don't think he's caught up in how many games he's won."
"There have been some long days in between starts," Clemens said. "But it's what I do and I enjoy doing it."
Milton (4-10), traded to Minnesota in 1998 as part of the Chuck Knoblauch deal, retired 16 straight before walking Jorge Posada with one out in the eighth. He allowed just one runner through seven innings and went to a two-ball count only twice in that span for his third complete game of the season.
Milton, who has a Yankees logo tattooed on his left shoulder and a smaller Twins logo on his right shoulder, said facing the Yankees didn't give him any extra incentive.
"At this point, it's just another team," Milton said. "I felt I gave my team a chance to win. We just couldn't pull it out."
Neither team got a runner to second in the first seven innings.
Chad Allen singled in the Twins third but was erased on a double-play grounder. In the fourth, Todd Walker blooped a hit down the left-field line with two outs and was thrown out by Spencer trying to stretch it to a double.
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