NEW YORK (AP) _ The last time Roger Clemens pitched on three days' rest, he lost badly.

It was Aug. 31, 1993, and Clemens was pounded for six runs and nine hits in 6 2-3 innings as the Texas Rangers beat Boston 8-1 at Fenway Park.

Baseball's only five-time Cy Young Award winner hasn't been his dominant self on three days' rest, going 5-3 with a 4.12 ERA in nine career starts. During the postseason, he's done it four times, going 1-1 with a 4.22 ERA.

``I've played long enough to be in all of those situations,'' Clemens said Friday night before the New York Yankees beat Oakland 4-2 to move within a win of their third straight AL championship series. ``We had heard talk about that they were going to go with three of us right now, so we prepared for that.''

Clemens' last postseason start on short rest was one of the most infamous of his career, and it also was against the Athletics. Terry Cooney ejected him from the fourth and final game of the 1990 AL championship series in the second inning, thinking Clemens was swearing at him _ a charge Clemens' agents later disproved.

``I think he'll be fine,'' Yankees manager Joe Torre said. ``When we made this decision, obviously, I called them in one at a time. If he thought it was going to be a problem, he would have mentioned it to me then.''

Andy Pettitte, who won Game 2 on Wednesday night, would come back on three days' rest if Game 5 is needed Sunday in Oakland. He's 2-4 with a 3.75 ERA in nine regular-season starts on short rest, including three this year. During the playoffs, he's 2-1 with a 3.07 ERA.

Torre made the decision to use only three starters after watching Denny Neagle go 3-3 with a 7.52 ERA in his last seven appearances. While starting pitching was a strength during New York's title runs in 1996, 1998 and 1999, it has become a worry.

``It would have been a tough decision, one way or the other,'' Torre said. ``With the inconsistency of Denny ... I'm just not sure he's comfortable with the way he's pitched down the stretch.''