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Clemens, who helped New York to two World Series titles and four American League pennants from 1999 to 2003, got a huge hand from the sellout crowd of 54,296 as he walked to the mound. Just before the first pitch, Jeter came in from shortstop for a quick chat and a pat on the chest.

“We had a good laugh,” Clemens said. “He’s one of the reasons why I chose to put my spikes back on.”

Though his low-90s fastball was far from overpowering, Clemens (1-0) earned his 349th win — eighth on the career list. He finished the day with 4,611 career strikeouts, passing Randy Johnson for second place behind Nolan Ryan (5,714).

The Rocket also improved to 6-1 in nine starts against Pittsburgh, eight with Houston.

“I certainly didn’t see any rust on his split-finger,” Doumit said. “I didn’t think his fastball was where he wanted it to be, but he’s 44 years old. That splitty was on point.”

Brian Bruney, Kyle Farnsworth and Luis Vizcaino finished up with scoreless relief.

Clemens gave up a clean single in the first to leadoff batter Jose Bautista, who advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on Adam LaRoche’s two-out single.

The Yankees quickly gave Clemens a 3-1 lead in the bottom half. Jeter’s double put runners at second and third before Rodriguez hit an RBI groundout. Jeter scored on Jorge Posada’s single, and Cano added an RBI single off Paul Maholm (2-9).

Clemens couldn’t hold it. With two outs in the fourth, he walked light-hitting Ronny Paulino before Jack Wilson hit a two-run double over right fielder Bobby Abreu’s head to tie it 3-3.

Posada’s bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the fifth put the Yankees ahead, and they made it 6-3 in the sixth on Abreu’s RBI single and Rodriguez’s sacrifice fly off John Grabow.

Cano opened the bottom half with a double and the Yankees added two runs on a throwing error by left fielder Jason Bay and an RBI grounder by Johnny Damon.

Maholm dropped to 0-5 in his past six starts.

“The most disappointing thing today is that defensively we didn’t play well,” Pirates manager Jim Tracy said. “You’re not going to beat this team playing like that.”