He did. The Mets went down meekly thereafter. Clemens faced 28 batters over eight innings, and only five of them put the ball out of the infield, just twice for hits. The Mets did hang five runs in the ninth on the Yankees' bullpen, but that was one short of the six the Yankees had scratched out off skittish lefty Mike Hampton and a succession of leaky relievers.
The Mets absolved Clemens of intent in the bat incident, and Piazza described himself as "more shocked and confused than anything." In the interview room after the game, Clemens said, "There was no intent there." Torre, normally the stoic sage, blew up at repeated questions from reporters about the incident. Clemens was astonished at Torre's outburst. Later, after he'd showered and put on his black shirt and leather jacket, Clemens telephoned a friend while walking to his black SUV. "Boy, they really got Skip fired up!" said Clemens.
As he arrived at the SUV, his wife, Debra, hopped down from the passenger seat. There was one thing he had to know. "Did Mom make it?" he asked.
"Yes," Debra replied. "She made it through, all the way until you came out."
Clemens smiled. It was 2 a.m., and only now did he put himself at ease. He had stared down the Mets with the help of a fastball straight out of his youth and a will straight from his mother. It was a night in which he became, in the parlance of the territory, a made Yankee.