Roger Clemens' return to the New York Yankees could give them a championship-caliber rotation again. The Detroit Tigers hold last year's AL pennant, however, and they're playing the best ball in the league.
With a dramatic announcement from the owner's box at Yankee Stadium during the seventh-inning stretch, Clemens revealed Sunday that he plans to pitch in pinstripes this season. It's a huge addition for New York, which struggled early on as one pitcher after another got hurt.
``Make no mistake about it, I've come back to do what they only know how to do here with the Yankees, and that's win a championship,'' Clemens said. ``Anything else is a failure, and I know that.''
e roster for his first start, most likely in three to four weeks.
The seven-time Cy Young Award winner chose the Yankees (14-15) over his hometown Houston Astros and the Boston Red Sox, his original team. Boston (20-10) leads the AL East by 5 1/2 games over New York.
``We don't need him,'' Red Sox ace Curt Schilling said. ``I feel like we were a legitimate World Series contender without him.''
Another team the Yankees might have to get past is the Tigers, who outpitched New York in a first-round playoff upset last October. Detroit (19-11) is playing extremely well again, winning its seventh straight with a 13-4 rout of the Royals for its 14th victory in the past 15 games at Kansas City.
``We come out and prepare to win every day,'' Tigers outfielder Craig Monroe said. ``We know how to prepare. The attitude on this team is we're going to accomplish the things we're trying to accomplish.''
In other AL games, it was: Boston 4, Minnesota 3; Chicago 4, Los Angeles 3 in 10 innings; Cleveland 9, Baltimore 6; Oakland 5, Tampa Bay 3; and Texas 3, Toronto 2.
Monroe, Curtis Granderson and Gary Sheffield hit two-run homers in the second inning. Monroe and Neifi Perez, who also homered, had four RBIs. Granderson drove in three runs.
The 13 runs and 17 hits were both season highs for the Tigers, who have not lost since April 28. Chad Durbin (2-1) gave up two runs in 7 2-3 innings.
The only bad news for Detroit lately was a freak finger injury to hard-throwing reliever Joel Zumaya, who was hurt while warming up Saturday night and is out indefinitely. He planned to see a hand specialist in New York on Monday.
Clemens, eighth on the career list with 348 wins and second in strikeouts with 4,604, intends to be back in the big leagues by late May or early June. He begins with a minor league contract and will start his workouts in Lexington, Ky., where his son Koby is playing in the Astros' farm system. He hopes to start pitching in minor league games in about two weeks.
Clemens will earn about $18.5 million under the deal, which will cost the Yankees approximately $7.4 million in additional luxury tax, meaning they are investing about $26 million in him. He joins a rotation that - when healthy - includes Chien-Ming Wang, Mike Mussina and good friend Andy Pettitte.
The Rocket pitched for the Yankees from 1999-2003, helping them to a pair of World Series titles and four pennants before following Pettitte to the Astros for three years.
``I don't expect him to do miracles,'' Yankees closer Mariano Rivera said. ``I just expect him to be himself.''
Yankees 5, Mariners 0
At New York, Darrell Rasner (1-1) allowed three hits in 5 2-3 innings to beat Jarrod Washburn (2-3).
The benches and bullpens emptied after Yankees reliever Scott Proctor threw near Yuniesky Betancourt in the seventh, but no punches were thrown. Proctor and manager Joe Torre were ejected. Washburn hit Josh Phelps in the back with a pitch in the sixth after Phelps went out of his way to slide hard into Mariners catcher Kenji Johjima while scoring the first run.
Red Sox 4, Twins 3
At Minneapolis, Schilling (4-1) allowed three runs in 6 2-3 innings and Jonathan Papelbon earned his 10th save in 11 tries. Boston took two of three from a Twins team that scored only five runs in the series.
Torii Hunter extended his career-high hitting streak to 21 games, but Minnesota put All-Star catcher Joe Mauer on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left quadriceps.
Indians 9, Orioles 6
At Baltimore, Trot Nixon went 5-for-5 with four RBIs and C.C. Sabathia (5-0) struck out nine in seven innings. Joe Borowski got his 11th save. Cleveland has won 11 of 14.
White Sox 4, Angels 3, 10 innings
At Anaheim, Calif., A.J. Pierzynski tied it with a pinch-hit, two-run homer in the eighth inning, then singled home the go-ahead run in the 10th off Francisco Rodriguez (0-2). Bobby Jenks fanned three batters for his 10th save.
Angels starter Bartolo Colon took a shutout into the eighth before leaving after 87 pitches with a mild strain in his right biceps. His status for his next scheduled start was unknown.
Rangers 3, Blue Jays 2
At Arlington, Texas, Michael Young, Mark Teixeira and Kenny Lofton homered off A.J. Burnett (2-3), and Akinori Otsuka earned his fourth save. Toronto was winless on its six-game road trip, the second time in club history the Blue Jays lost every game on a trip that lasted at least six games. The other was in 1979.
Athletics 5, Devil Rays 3
At St. Petersburg, Fla., Nick Swisher hit a tiebreaking homer off Edwin Jackson (0-5) in the seventh and winner Joe Blanton (3-1) gave up three runs over 7 1-3 innings. Huston Street got his ninth save.

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