AL routs Clemens in All-Star Game win

Six runs in the first triggers 9-4 victory

AL routs Clemens in All-Star Game win

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

A capacity crowd of 41,886 fans packed Minute Maid Park on July 13, 2004, hoping to celebrate during the 75th All-Star Game.

Texan Roger Clemens had returned home in 2004 to pitch for the Houston Astros. And now he was going to start the All-Star Game for the National League.

At the age of 41, Clemens was the oldest starting pitcher in All-Star Game history. And given Clemens personal All-Star Game history -- three runs allowed on six hits over 11 innings in eight previous games -- what could go wrong?

Before many fans had settled into their seats, Clemens and the NL were done as the American League scored six, first-inning runs en route to a 9-4 victory.

Clemens allowed all six runs (three were earned) on five hits, including two homers, in the first.

Seattle center fielder Ichiro Suzuki opened the game with a double into the right-field corner. Detroit catcher Ivan Rodriguez followed with a run-scoring triple into the right-field corner. And with one-out, Boston left fielder Manny Ramirez hit a two-run homer to make it 3-0.

With two out, Yankees first baseman Jason Giambi reached base on an error by Astros' second baseman Jeff Kent. Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter singled Giambi to third, and Texas second baseman Alfonso Soriano capped the inning with a three-run homer.

The NL did get on the board in the bottom of the first against AL starting pitcher Mark Mulder of the Oakland A's. Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols hit a one-out ground-rule double and scored on a two-out single by Cubs' right fielder Sammy Sosa.

The AL extended its lead to 7-1 in the top of the fourth against the Cubs' Carlos Zambrano. Pinch-hitter David Ortiz of Boston drew a two-out walk and scored on a triple by third baseman Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees.

The NL cut the deficit to 7-4 in the bottom of the fourth with a two-out rally against CC Sabathia of the Cleveland Indians.

Kent and pinch-hitter Carlos Beltran of the Astros hit back-to-back singles with two out to start the rally. Kent scored on a ground-rule double by Cardinals' shortstop Edgar Renteria. Pujols followed with a two-run double.

But the American League scored two runs in the top of the sixth. Angels' right fielder Vladimir Guerrero singled with one out off Florida's Carl Pavano and scored on a two-run homer by Ortiz.

Soriano was 2-for-3 and was named the All-Star Game's Most Valuable Player off his three-run homer in the first. Ortiz had a two-run homer with two walks and two runs scored in three plate appearances. Jeter was 3-for-3 with a run scored.

The American League had a 14-9 edge in hits. Pujols was the only National Leaguer with two hits.

Mulder worked the first two innings and was credited with the win. Clemens took the loss.

Second baseman Mark Loretta represented the Padres and had a hit in two at-bats.