CHICAGO – Roger Clemens (search) left Game 1 of the World Series after two innings Saturday night because of a strained left hamstring, an injury that has bothered the Houston Astros' ace since early September.
Clemens allowed three runs and four hits over two innings against the Chicago White Sox (search) and left with the game tied at 3, before the Astros went on to lose 5-3. This was the first time he had started a Series opener.
The seven-time Cy Young Award (search) winner threw 54 pitches — 25 in the first inning and 29 in the second, after which he walked gingerly down the dugout steps and disappeared in the tunnel that leads to the clubhouse. He struck out one with no walks.
"I had a problem in the second inning and fought my way through that inning," Clemens said. "I came up here as quick as I could to take my sleeve off and have them check it. ... The fluid already started to build up in my leg."
Clemens said he took some medication and will be treated, but he didn't elaborate. He was listed as day-to-day.
Wandy Rodriguez, a rookie left-hander who started during the regular season, replaced the 43-year-old Clemens at the start of the third inning. He allowed a run and four hits over 3 1-3 innings and was the loser.
If Clemens is unable to pitch anymore, the Astros would not be able to replace him on their World Series roster.
Clemens left a Sept. 3 game against the St. Louis Cardinals after five innings because of the hamstring. Six days later, he gave up five runs over three innings at Milwaukee in what had been his shortest start this year until Saturday night.
The Rocket made his next start, a 7-0 loss to Pittsburgh, which was the ninth time this season the Astros were scoreless when he pitched. He then skipped a start before beating the Chicago Cubs on the final weekend of the regular season.
Clemens led the majors with a 1.87 ERA during the regular season, when he was 13-8.
Game 1 of the World Series was his 33rd career postseason start, matching teammate Andy Pettitte, the scheduled Game 2 starter, for the most ever.
Clemens was 3-0 with a 1.90 ERA in his seven previous World Series starts.
In his NL championship series start, Clemens allowed two runs over six innings in a Game 3 victory over the Cardinals. Clemens was the loser in Game 2 of the NL division series against Atlanta, but three days later pitched in relief for the first time since he was a rookie in 1984, going the final three innings in an 18-inning victory that clinched that series.
The last time Clemens had pitched in the World Series was two years ago, and that was expected to be his last game when he exited Game 4 in Miami of the New York Yankees' extra-inning loss to the Marlins. Clemens had said he was retiring after his fifth World Series, one with Boston and four with New York.
When Pettitte left the Yankees for Houston after that 2003 season, however, he persuaded his buddy Clemens to come out of retirement and so they could pitch for their hometown Astros. The Rocket won 18 games and his seventh Cy Young Award, getting his team within one victory of the World Series last year.