Pettitte wins 200th as Yankees edge OriolesSep 20, 2007 - 5:34 AM
BRONX, New York (Ticker) -- On a night when the offense mustered little, the New York Yankees did not need to fret because they had Andy Pettitte on the mound.
Pettitte pitched effectively into the eighth inning for his 200th career victory as the Yankees completed a three-game sweep of the Baltimore Orioles with a 2-1 victory on Wednesday.
The Yankees (88-64), who won for the 12th time in their last 14 games, climbed within 1 1/2 games of the first-place Boston Red Sox (90-63) in the American League East Division. Boston dropped a 6-1 decision to Toronto on Wednesday.
"It's always the goal," Yankees captain Derek Jeter said of the division title. "I said it from the get-go, when we were 20 games out, that's the first goal - winning the division. We can't worry about that now because we don't play them. Our goal now is to win the games we play."
New York also moved 5 1/2 games ahead of Detroit for the AL League wild card lead and reduced their magic number for clinching their 13th straight postseason berth to five.
"Right now, the wins are extremely important," Pettitte said. "It was a great win for us. It was exciting, that's for sure, with all the stuff that was going on. I was watching on TV and they were showing a Boston score. I know the fans are really into it, so it was definitely exciting."
New York's latest win came courtesy of Pettitte (14-8), who allowed just an RBI single in the sixth by Melvin Mora among seven hits. He struck out four, walked two and worked quickly, throwing 65-of-104 pitches for strikes.
The veteran lefthander improved to 10-2 in 14 starts since the All-Star break and also became the 27th lefthander to record 200 victories.
Of those 200 wins, 162 have been with the Yankees, who re-signed him in the offseason following three campaigns in Houston.
"You know the quality of the 200, and I witnessed a number of them," New York manager Joe Torre said. "When you consider during his stay here we were in the playoffs every year, you realize the quality of the starts.
"If I never see Andy Pettitte again, I'll never forget Game Five, 1-0 against Atlanta (in the 1996 World Series). For a young man, he showed me about as much heart as you could ever imagine. He's earned his stripes."
This milestone also was extra special for Pettitte as his wife and parents were on hand to witness the victory.
"My wife won't leave my kids for too long," Pettitte joked. "She wasn't able to be in Boston (for my last start), so she flew up and my parents were here, so that was extremely special."
"He's done so many things," Jeter said. "He's been so successful in big games. He's been so consistent that anytime someone has that success, you always have confidence in him. I've been playing with Andy since 1992, so I've seen it for a long time. Anytime he takes the mound, you expect good things."
In this one, Pettitte allowed less than three runs for the 18th time this season and received tremendous support from his defense.
Catcher Jorge Posada threw out Aubrey Huff attempting to steal in the second inning and gunned down counterpart Ramon Hernandez in the fifth. First baseman Doug Mientkiewicz also made three solid plays, including a diving stop of a throw from third baseman Alex Rodriguez in the sixth that retired Miguel Tejada.
The former Gold Glove first baseman also made a nice stretch to snag Rodriguez's throw in the eighth that retired Brian Roberts.
Two nights after allowing his first career earned run, rookie Joba Chamberlain came on immediately afterward and struck out Mora on an 87 mile-per-hour slider. Mariano Rivera worked around a double and a pair of walks in the ninth, striking out pinch hitter Scott Moore with the bases loaded to nail down his 30th save in 33 opportunities.
"I wish we could have given him one more problem tonight," said Orioles manager Dave Trembley, whose team handed Rivera a blown save on August 13. "He had to work for it. It wasn't given to him."
Rivera loaded the bases for the second consecutive outing but reached the 30-save mark for the fifth straight season and 10th time in 11 campaigns as New York's closer.
Despite the fact Boston had lost while he was on the mound, Rivera was focused on putting away Baltimore.
"I was too busy doing my thing," he said. "I had no clue. I was too busy trying to save the game for Andy."
After scoring 20 runs in the first two games of the series, the Yankees struggled to generate offense against Baltimore starter Brian Burres (6-6).
Hideki Matsui's 25th home run gave New York a 1-0 lead in the second inning. The blast was his second of the series after going 122 at-bats without homering.
Five innings later, New York manufactured its second run. Mientkiewicz opened the inning with a base hit to right field, took second on Jeter's single, moved to third on a groundout and scored when Burres threw a wild pitch that sailed over Rodriguez's head.
Burres, who held the Yankees to four hits and recorded seven strikeouts in six innings in Baltimore on July 28, pitched nearly as well as Pettitte. He allowed just two runs and five hits in 7 1/3 innings.
"(Pettitte) was pitching great," Burres said. "He was really pitching well. I knew after a couple of innings it should be one of those games, and I just wish I hadn't made the mistake."
"There's something to be said about the powers of positive thinking," Trembley said. "That's what it's all about with Burres. Burres is a guy that you have to get him to believe who he is and what he has and get him to get focused."
It was another frustrating night for the Orioles, who have lost 22 of their last 27 games. Besides wasting a solid outing from Burress, their frustrations reached the breaking point in the fifth, when Jay Payton was ejected for arguing a called third strike with plate umpire Mike Reilly.
It was the second ejection of the series for Payton, who threw his bat and helmet to the ground as he stormed off toward the dugout.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
- - - - - - - - - - - -
BALTIMORE 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 8 0
NY YANKEES 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 x 2 5 0 (FINAL)
BATTERIES: BAL - BRIAN BURRES, CHAD BRADFORD (8TH) AND RAMON HERNANDEZ
NYY - ANDY PETTITTE, JOBA CHAMBERLAIN (8TH), MARIANO
RIVERA (9TH) AND JORGE POSADA
HOME RUNS: BAL - NO
Sep 19 10:05 PM
AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
SINGLE BY MELVIN MORA SCORED BRIAN ROBERTS.
SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M MORA ON FIRST, 1 OUT
CURRENT SCORE: BALTIMORE 1
NY YANKEES 2 TOP, 6TH
DUE UP FOR BALTIMORE: M TEJADA (.298, 0-FOR-2)
Orioles vs. YankeesSep 19 8:49 PM
AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
WILD PITCH BY BRIAN BURRES ALLOWED DOUG MIENTKIEWICZ TO
SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, B ABREU ON FIRST, 2 OUT
CURRENT SCORE: BALTIMORE 0
NY YANKEES 2 BOTTOM, 5TH
DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: A RODRIGUEZ (.309, 0-FOR-2)
Orioles vs. YankeesSep 19 8:36 PM
AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
SOLO HOME RUN BY HIDEKI MATSUI (25) TO RIGHT WITH 2 OUT IN
THE 2ND OFF BRIAN BURRES.
CURRENT SCORE: BALTIMORE 0, NY YANKEES 1
DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: R CANO (.302, 18 HR, 87 RBI)
Orioles vs. YankeesSep 19 7:39 PM
- Orioles-Astros Preview May 23
- Blue Jays-Yankees Preview May 23
- Ejections aplenty for Blue Jays lately May 23
- Baseball Capsules May 22
- Bad day gets worse for Athletics in 5-4 loss to Yankees May 22
- Pineda ends slump; Yanks top Oakland 5-4 to win 5th straight May 22
- Perez's 5 RBIs help Weaver and Angels top Orioles 10-2 May 22
- Gray put on DL by A's because of strained muscle May 22
- Shoemaker strikes out 12, Angels lose 3-1 to Orioles May 22
- Wieters homers in ninth to lift Orioles past Angels, 3-1 May 22
- Orioles-Angels Preview May 22
- Yankees-Athletics Preview May 21