Ramiro Mendoza pitched 5 2-3 innings in relief of an injured Clemens, and Tino Martinez hit a tiebreaking homer in the eighth inning after Pedro Martinez had left, giving the New York Yankees a 2-1 win over the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday.
"The only way to beat Pedro is to scratch a run or two off him, have your pitchers do a great job and hope he can't stay in there forever," said Tino Martinez, whose homer into the upper deck in right field off Tim Wakefield (2-5) broke a 1-1 tie and moved New York one game ahead in the AL East.
That was just what the Yankees did after Clemens worked out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the first inning the only inning he'd pitch before leaving with a strained right groin.
Manager Joe Torre said the injury, which first flared up in Atlanta 11 days ago, may force the right-hander to go on the disabled list.
Mendoza, one of New York's heroes last October when the Yankees beat the Red Sox in the ALCS, came through by allowing one run in 5 2-3 innings and leaving with the score tied at 1. Jason Grimsley (3-1) got four outs and Mariano Rivera finished for his 15th save.
"All in all it could have been worse if we had lost the game," Clemens said. "But Mendoza and the 'pen did a great job and Tino came through with the big hit."
The Yankees were pleasantly surprised when Martinez didn't come out for the seventh inning. The Cy Young winner allowed one run and six hits in six innings and left after throwing 101 pitches.
"We want to protect this kid," manager Jimy Williams said. "We had wanted him to throw about 100 and he was there."
Martinez, who had gone at least seven innings in all 10 starts this season, walked two and struck out seven in his first no-decision since Sept. 15, 1999, at Cleveland.
"I just pitched the count," Martinez said. "I felt good enough to pitch another inning or more but they said I was over 100 and it was time to go. I never dispute their decision."
Mendoza, bumped in the rotation by Clemens after Monday's rainout, pitched out of trouble much of the game as Boston stranded 12 runners, but had only two hits in 16 at-bats with runners on base.
"We had chances with the right people," Williams said. "We hit some balls good that were caught."
With two outs in the seventh, the Red Sox finally tied the game on a controversial home run by Nomar Garciaparra.
Ricky Ledee nearly made a spectacular catch, leaping into the stands. The ball hit his glove, but the glove hit a fan, the ball popped out, hit the top of the wall and ricocheted in front of the foul pole into foul territory for what should have been a ground-rule double.
Ledee landed and looked at his glove in disbelief as third-base umpire Travis Katzenmeyer ruled the ball a home run, generating cheers from the Red Sox fans at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees didn't argue the call.
"I didn't see it until the replay," Torre said. "But I would have hoped one of the four umpires saw it."
The Yankees, who had not scored in their 21 innings against Martinez, broke through for a run in the first. Chuck Knoblauch led off with a double and moved to third on Paul O'Neill's one-out infield single just the third hit this season off Martinez with runners in scoring position.
"I didn't think I should have walked that one in," Martinez said. "I didn't agree with that pitch. I thought it was close enough."
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