Wednesday, September 26, 2001

Yankees lose but clinch AL East




The Associated Press

        NEW YORK — Baseball returned to the Bronx on Tuesday night with a tribute to the victims of the terrorist attacks and another division championship for the New York Yankees.

        The Yankees, playing at home for the first time since the tragedies Sept.11, clinched their fourth straight AL East title when Boston lost to Baltimore.

        The final score from Fenway Park was posted in the seventh inning at Yankee Stadium, drawing applause from the fans who no longer cared that Tanyon Sturtze outpitched Roger Clemens to give the Tampa Bay Devil Rays a 4-0 win.

        Clemens (20-2) lost for the first time since May 20 at Seattle, ending a 16-game winning streak. He did strike out nine batters to move into third place on the career strikeout list.

        He gave up a one-out single to Brent Abernathy in the first inning then threw wildly into the stands on a pickoff attempt. Ben Grieve and Toby Hall hit RBI singles in the inning to give Sturtze a 2-0 lead he wouldn't relinquish.

        Sturtze (9-12) was pitching with a heavy heart. Tara Creamer, the wife of Sturtze's close friend, John Creamer, was on one of the flights that crashed into the World Trade Center.

        But Sturtze was extremely effective, allowing four hits in seven scoreless innings to end a four-start winless stretch.

        The Devil Rays beat Toronto 1-0 Sunday and have a franchise-record 20-inning scoreless streak.

        Despite the loss, the Yankees assured themselves of their record 39th first-place finish. But they planned a toned-down celebration after the game in deference to the tragedy.

        Amid tight security, baseball returned to its most famous site for the first time since the attacks two weeks ago. There were long lines to enter the stadium as fans had their bags checked.

        It was a night for contrasts of emotions. The fans interspersed chants of “USA! USA!” with “Let's Go Yankees!” and even did the wave. Players from both teams lined the baselines side-by-side with city rescue workers during patriotic songs. Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, the city's No. 1 Yankees fan, got a loud ovation before joining the Yankees on the pitcher's mound before the game.

       



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