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Clemens Building on 350

New York Yankees starter Rogers Clemens finally picked up win No. 350 his last time out, and he's hoping it's a sign of things to come.

Clemens looks to build on the milestone victory Saturday when he faces John Lackey and the Los Angeles Angels in the middle game of a weekend series at Yankee Stadium.

Oddsmakers have made New York -130 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 9un total runs (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 51% of bets for this game have been placed on New York -130 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

Clemens (2-3, 4.26 ERA) became the first major leaguer since Warren Spahn of the Milwaukee Braves on Sept. 29, 1963 to win his 350th game on Monday. The landmark win came in a vintage performance, in which the seven-time Cy Young Award winner allowed two hits in eight innings and earned a 5-1 victory over Minnesota.

"That was dominant," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "It was really a lift that we needed. This is not an easy ballclub to pitch to, because they don't swing big. They do little things. He had to make real good pitches all night, and he did."

Clemens, who turns 45 next month, had not won since his season debut on June 9, a 9-3 victory over Pittsburgh. In between wins, he went 0-3 with a 5.60 ERA in three starts and one relief appearance. He failed to record a strikeout in his previous start, a 4-0 loss in Baltimore on June 27, ending a streak of 200 consecutive starts with at least one.

"I just feel really blessed. I don't know any other way to put it," Clemens told the Yankees' official team Web site after Monday's win. "To be linked with some of these guys that they're linking me with is just a neat event, and I appreciate it."

Clemens is 29-9 in 46 career regular-season starts against the Angels - his most wins against any opponent - and his 2.53 ERA against them is his second-best against any AL foe. He has not faced the Angels since a 6-4 loss on June 19, 2004 while he was with Houston that ended a three-start and four-decision winning streak against them.

Clemens is hoping that Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez stays hot at the plate. Rodriguez returned after missing his first game of the season with a strained left hamstring and went 3-for-4 with a two-run homer and a double in New York's 14-9 win in Friday's series opener.

Rodriguez, who leads the majors with 29 home runs and 82 RBIs, ended a season-worst 0-for-19 slump and later matched Lou Gehrig and Fred McGriff for 22nd on the all-time list with his 493rd homer. A-Rod, the leading All-Star vote-getter, said he will decide after Saturday's game whether he can play in Tuesday's All-Star game.

The Yankees, who won for the fourth time in five games, set season highs for runs and hits (19). They also improved to 53-58 in the regular season against the Angels since Torre became their manager in 1996.

The Angels are the only AL team to hold an edge over the Yankees under Torre, and also eliminated New York from the playoffs in 2002 and 2005.

Chone Figgins and Orlando Cabrera each drove in three runs for Los Angeles, which lost for the seventh time in 10 games.

The Angels will hand the ball to John Lackey (11-5, 3.04), who is one win shy of the major league lead shared by Boston's Josh Beckett and Cleveland's C.C. Sabathia. He gave up three runs in 7 1-3 innings of Sunday's 4-3 win in Baltimore, improving to 2-2 since winning five straight starts.

Lackey is 4-6 with a 5.35 ERA in 11 career starts against the Yankees, but he beat them at Yankee Stadium on May 27 by allowing two runs in eight innings of a 4-3 win. He's looking forward to starting against Clemens, a fellow Texas native.

"I'll be at the house by then - hopefully on a ranch in Texas, never to be heard from again," Lackey told the Angels' official team Web site when asked if he would be pitching in his 40s. "It takes a lot of work to go out every five days, to put in that many years and pitch as well as he has. That's pretty amazing."

by: Dave Michaels - thespread.com – Email Us

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