Yankees hold on to beat Houston 3-2
The crowd at Minute Maid Park on Friday night was filled with New York Yankees fans.
Despite that, when David Robertson emerged from the bullpen in left-center field in the ninth inning, boos rained down on him and didn't stop until well after he'd thrown his first pitch.
It wasn't anything personal. The Yankees fans were simply hoping for another chance to watch Mariano Rivera close out a game.
Robertson got the save as Rivera looked on, and the Yankees got a glimpse of their future in a 3-2 win over Houston on that sent the Astros to their team-record 13th consecutive loss.
''I did not take any of the boos personally,'' Robertson said. ''I can understand why the fans would want to see Mariano. There's two games left now ... and fans kind of hope to see him pitch again. But we'll see what happens.''
After the game, New York manager Joe Girardi said Rivera told him he wasn't available to pitch on Friday, a night after Rivera's emotional farewell at Yankee Stadium. Girardi will check with him again on Saturday.
Girardi said the 43-year-old Rivera can play center field this weekend if he wants to.
''I'll talk to him every day to see what he wants to do,'' the manager explained. ''I know he's talked about playing some center field, but I know he has some concerns about his leg. That's really up to him. If he wants to do it, he can do it. I'm OK with it.''
David Adams hit a two-run double and Mark Reynolds also drove in a run for the Yankees, who stopped a four-game losing streak.
Houston dropped to 51-109, the most losses for a major league team since the 2004 Arizona Diamondbacks went 51-111.
The Astros' 322 losses over three seasons are the fifth-most in big league history according to STATS, ahead of only the 1962-64 New York Mets (340), the 1963-65 Mets (332), the 1915-17 Philadelphia Athletics (324) and the 1940-42 Philadelphia Phillies (323).
''It's been real tough losing 13 straight,'' Houston third baseman Matt Dominguez said. ''Hopefully we can come out tomorrow and Sunday and get wins and end the year on a good note, build a bit more confidence heading into spring training.''
Adam Warren (3-2) allowed two hits and struck out four in five scoreless innings as New York started the final series of a disappointing season in which the team failed to reach the playoffs for just the second time in 19 years.
''I think it should give him a lot of confidence for next year for what he's done for our club this year in a lot of different roles that we've used him,'' Girardi said of Warren, who has mostly pitched in relief this season. ''Very pleased with the step forward he took this year and he needs to build on it.''
David Phelps gave up Brett Wallace's two-run double in the seventh, and Joba Chamberlain struggled before Preston Clairborne and Robertson closed it out.
Robertson, who got his third save, figures to inherit the closer role Rivera has held since 1997. He's looking for a better reception when he takes the mound next season.
''I really hope so,'' he said.
Houston starter Brett Oberholtzer (4-5) yielded three runs - two earned - and five hits in 5 1-3 innings.
Robinson Cano singled with one out in the fourth, Alfonso Soriano walked and Reynolds singled to drive in the go-ahead run. Dominguez's error allowed Soriano, and Adams doubled just inside the fence in the left-field corner.
Houston struck out seven times, increasing its franchise-record total this season to 1,511. They are 18 shy of Arizona's record, set in 2010.
NOTES: New York's Andy Pettitte will make his final start before retiring on Saturday against Paul Clemens. The 41-year-old Pettitte, who is from nearby Deer Park, played for the Astros from 2004-06. ''To be able to make my last start here in my hometown is going to be extremely special,'' he said. ''Everybody that I've grown up with ... and that instilled things in me is going to be here. So it's going to be a really exciting day for me. And it's fitting, I believe.'' The Astros honored Pettitte in the middle of the fifth inning on Friday night by presenting him with the framed No. 21 jersey he wore when he played in Houston.