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ROCKET STILL SMOKING AS JAYS MOW DOWN TWINS

Though 12-year-old Jeff Duda didn't make it to the Little League World Series final, he won't go home disappointed after watching Roger Clemens at his best.

After losing to Japan in the international final of the Little League World Series last Thursday in Williamsport, Pa., Duda and his Canadian teammates from Langley, British Columbia, were honored by the Toronto Blue Jays before Sunday's game.

Duda, who lost despite striking out 17 batters in the international final against Japan, met Clemens after the game.

"It's a lot more fun meeting Roger than getting 17," Duda said after watching Clemens throw his third straight shutout in Toronto's 6-0 win over Minnesota. "I look up to him."

Clemens (17-6) pitched a two-hitter, won his 12th straight decision, and extended his scoreless innings streak to 29.

After the game, Clemens, a four-time Cy Young Award winner autographed a jersey for Duda that read: "J.D., way to go, R.C. CY u around."

But it's Clemens who might see another Cy.

He hasn't lost since May 29 and followed three-hit shutouts over Seattle and Kansas City by blanking the Twins. The 36-year-old right-hander walked three and struck out seven in his fifth complete game this season.

Yet Clemens says he didn't have his best stuff.

"It was one of those days when my arm felt heavy," Clemens said. "It was just real hard to get my arm into a good slot consistently today, but when you get that type of run support it makes it pretty easy.

"I just feel real fortunate with the way things are going," he said.

Sexson slams Athletics

CLEVELAND -- Richie Sexson wanted the ball back, and he got it from an obliging fan.

The keepsake will help the rookie remember the day his first grand slam put the Cleveland Indians ahead in a 9-4 win over Oakland.

"I got the ball back and I'm going to keep it. I want to thank the fan. All he asked for was a bat in return. I'll give him a bat and try to get him some tickets, too," Sexson said.

Sexson hit a 1-1 pitch from reliever Tim Worrell into the left-field seats in the seventh inning Sunday for his third homer in two days.

Sexson is 6 for 13 with seven RBIs in the series against Oakland, which concludes tonight. He is 31 for 75 with five homers and 17 RBIs in 19 games since replacing Jim Thome, who broke his right hand on Aug. 7. Sexson had 21 homers this season at Class AAA Buffalo.

"When Jimmy comes back, he's going to play, but Richie will stay in the mix," Indians manager Mike Hargrove said. "Is he going to be this hot his whole career? Of course not, but he's not going to be half bad, either."

Charles Nagy (12-9) had a season-high 10 strikeouts in seven innings.

Around the horn

Garret Anderson homered and drove in three runs as the Angels tripped the Red Sox, 8-6. Mo Vaughn hit a three-run homer, John Valentin had a two-run homer and Nomar Garciaparra added a solo shot for Boston. . . . Mendy Lopez had two RBIs in a three-run fifth inning that lifted the Royals over the Orioles, 3-2. Kansas City completed its first sweep of Baltimore since 1991 and stretched the Orioles' losing streak to seven games. . . . Jeff Abbott drove in two runs as the White Sox beat struggling Todd Stottlemyre and the Rangers, 5-3. Stottlemyre (3-3) allowed five runs and six hits over six innings. Acquired July 31 from St. Louis, Stottlemyre has given up 23 runs (20 earned) in 24 2/3 innings over his last five starts. . . . Rolando Arrojo pitched seven shutout innings for his first win since July 16 and Bobby Smith homered as the Devil Rays tied up the Tigers, 10-5.

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