Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte has had career full of highlights in the big leagues. And Saturday he added a couple more.
Pettitte allowed three hits over 7 1/3 innings to earn his 250th career victory, leading the Yankees to a 3-1 win over the Seattle Mariners. The 47th pitcher in major league history to reach that milestone, he will turn 41 on June 15.
But what happened just as the game ended meant even more to him. His first-born son, Josh Pettitte, a right-hand pitcher for Deer Park (Texas) High School, was drafted by the Yankees in the 37th round in the Major League Baseball draft.
”I’ll remember this one, that’s for sure,” said Pettitte, who also picked up his 213th victory as Yankee, putting him third on the franchise’s career list behind Whitey Ford (236) and Red Ruffing (231).
Josh, who was with his father in the dugout during the game, got a call from Yankees director of amateur scouting Damon Opperheimer in the Yankee clubhouse as the game was ending.
”I was shaving and I walked out and Damon’s on the phone,” Pettitte said. ”I gave him a big hug and kiss and told him I was proud of him.
Josh, who had a pair of no-hitters this season, has a scholarship offer to play for Baylor. That’s where his dad wants him to go.
”It’s an honor to have the Yankees take him and we’re excited about that,” Pettitte said. ”It’s a good situation to have the opportunity for a lot of teams to look at him. (But) the money wasn’t going to be there to where I felt he needed to pass up on Baylor. Dad’s hoping Baylor is what he’s going to do.”
Asked what he gets the most satisfaction from, his 250th win or Josh being drafted, Pettitte said, ”it all ties together now. You can’t separate them. It happened here with the game ending. It’s pretty cool.”
What’s also tied in is his association with Marino Rivera. The Yankees closer worked the ninth and saved a Pettitte victory for the 71st time, the most of any pitching combination since the save rule was established.
”I have the same joy he has, knowing that I’ve been there for every one of them,” said Rivera, who earned his 630th save to add to his major league record. ”I’ve been able to contribute a little bit to his success. I’m as happy as he is.
”He pitched a tremendous game today. To be there for his 250th, that’s special. `’
Rivera also has great numbers. He has 22 saves in 23 opportunities this season – expected to be his last – and is 36 of 38 for his career against the Mariners.
”I feel blessed to play the game as long as I have,” Pettitte said, ”and to have Mo close it out is special because he’s such a good friend.”
Pettitte (5-3) had six strikeouts and no walks in his 85-pitch effort. He has 1,940 strikeouts as a Yankee, 16 behind franchise leader Ford.
Pettitte is 12-13 in 26 career starts against the Mariners, the only American League team he has a losing record against.
”We tried to make adjustments and he adjusted right back,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said of Pettitte. ”He’s amazing. There are a couple of guys over there that have had amazing careers and are still doing it at the highest level.”
Jayson Nix had a pair of RBI singles and Brett Gardner had three hits, including two doubles.
The Yankees scored a two-out run off Joe Saunders (4-6) in the first inning. After Mark Teixeira doubled down the left-field line, Robinson Cano drove him home with a single to right for his 40th RBI.
Jason Bay opened with a single to left in the Mariners’ fourth, the first baserunner Pettitte allowed. Kyle Seager followed with a first-pitch single to right, extending his hitting streak to 12 games.
Kendrys Morales then bounced a potential double-play grounder to shortstop Nix. He bobbled it and was late to tag second, but still threw to first for one out.
Michael Morse then hit a sac-fly to center, scoring Bay.
The Mariners’ failure to turn a double play in the fifth allowed the Yankees to jump ahead, 2-1. Ichiro Suzuki walked and advanced to second on Chris Stewart’s one-out single to center.
Gardner then hit a one-hopper to third baseman Seager. He threw quickly to second for the force but second baseman Nick Franklin bobbled the relay and Gardner reached.
Nix then drove Suzuki home with a single to right.
Nix also drove home the final run in the seventh on a single to center, scoring Gardner, who had doubled.
Kevin Youkilis entered the game tied with Boston’s David Ortiz for reaching base safely in all 20 games they have started at Safeco Field. His sixth-inning walk gave him 21 straight.
”Two hundred-fifty wins and a lot of postseason wins, too,” Yankee manager Joe Girardi said of Pettitte. ”He’s been a great Yankee, one of the all-time greats. It’s been a pleasure to play with him and a pleasure to manage him.”
NOTES: Yankees RHP Michael Pineda, who had labrum surgery 14 months ago, began his rehab assignment with Single-A Tampa Saturday. . LHP Vidal Nuno was removed from his start for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre Friday because of a groin injury. Girardi said that generally means a trip to the DL. . The Mariners placed C Jesus Sucre on the DL, retroactive to June 6, with a left wrist sprain. SS Carlos Triunfel was recalled. . C Brandon Bantz, who was a backup Double-A catcher a week ago, made his first big league start. . Morales was removed in the sixth with back stiffness. He is day to day. . The Mariners drafted the younger brother of 3B Seager, Justin Seager, in the 12th round Saturday. He is a first baseman for North Carolina-Charlotte.