SEATTLE -- Roger Clemens brushed back Alex Rodriguez, then brought the New York Yankees to the brink of another World Series trip.
Pitching the greatest game of his flawed postseason career, Clemens threw a one-hitter and struck out a record-setting 15 to give the Yankees a 5-0 win Saturday night and a 3-1 lead in the AL championship series.
Al Martin doubled off the glove of leaping first baseman Tino Martinez in the seventh inning for Seattle's only hit.
In a testy, tense affair that saw Mariners manager Lou Piniella shout a string of profanities toward Yankees counterpart Joe Torre after some early brushbacks, the Yankees won with power pitching and power hitting.
Derek Jeter hit a three-run homer in the fifth and David Justice launched a two-run shot in the eighth. That was plenty for Clemens, who set an ALCS record for strikeouts with fastballs clocked at up to 97 mph.
"The ball was jumping out of my hand," Clemens said.
The Yankees can wrap up their 37th AL pennant and a chance at their third straight World Series title -- possibly in a Subway Series -- when Denny Neagle starts against Freddy Garcia in Game 5 Sunday.
And suddenly, all those white towels Mariners fans have been waving at Safeco Field might wind up being signs of surrender.
Martinez vainly jumped to catch Martin's leadoff liner, but the ball glanced off the very tip of his glove and rolled into the right-field corner. It was a clean hit, and the official scorer immediately ruled it that way.
Coming off two losses to Oakland in the division series that dropped his postseason record to 3-5, Clemens had become the symbol of what was wrong with the Yankees. At 38, some thought the five-time Cy Young winner and his teammates were too old and broken down to keep their run going.
The Rocket showed otherwise from the start -- and with a vengeance.
After striking out Stan Javier and Martin to start the bottom of the first, he buzzed Rodriguez with two fastballs. Rodriguez eventually walked, making him the only Mariners hitter to reach until the seventh.
In the top of the second, losing pitcher Paul Abbott threw a fastball near Jorge Posada's head, and that's when the shouting started.
From the Mariners' first-base dugout, Piniella started screaming across the way toward Torre. Fans in the front row -- including the world's richest man, Bill Gates -- could certainly hear the world-class tirade, with Piniella vowing his team would not back down.
Before the bottom of the second, umpire crew chief John Hirschbeck walked in from second base to talk with Clemens on the mound.
The only other sign of trouble, and it was minor, came in the fourth when Martin was retired on a play in which Clemens covered first base. The two players bumped shoulders after crossing the bag and Clemens raised an elbow.
In the seventh, Martin hit back with a liner that prevented Clemens from throwing only the second no-hitter in postseason history. Don Larsen threw one for the Yankees against Brooklyn in the 1956 World Series.
That was the last sign of trouble, as Clemens began mowing down the Mariners. He'd done it before, having set a major league strikeout record by fanning 20 Seattle hitters on April 29, 1986, while with Boston.
The Mariners threatened only once. Martin's double and a two-out walk to John Olerud brought up Mike Cameron as the tying run, but he struck out.
The Yankees broke through against Abbott in the fifth. Scott Brosius singled with two outs, Chuck Knoblauch worked out a walk and Jeter homered to dead center.
Jeter blew a bubble as he ran toward first base and raised his right fist when he saw the ball clear Cameron's leap.
Abbott left with tightness in his right shoulder after the fifth. Justice homered off Jose Mesa.
Notes: Yankees OF Paul O'Neill stopped during pregame warmups to watch the scoreboard when it showed Mark McGwire's pinch-hit at-bat in NLCS. Big Mac hit a long fly ball, prompting O'Neill to say, "Didn't miss by much." St. Louis beat the New York Mets 8-2, cutting the Cardinals' deficit to 2-1, in a game that ended a minute before the Yankees and Mariners began. ... It was the anniversary of the date current Yankees batting coach Chris Chambliss hit a bottom-of-the-ninth homer to lift New York over Kansas City in the deciding Game 5 of the 1976 ALCS. ... Seattle catcher Dan Wilson struck out twice, leaving him at 2-for-54 (.037) lifetime in postseason play. ... Injured Mariners pitcher Jamie Moyer threw out the first ball.
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