Andy Pettitte pitched 7 2/3 innings, giving up one run on seven hits, to earn his 200th career victory last night in leading the Yankees to a 2-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles. Hideki Matsui homered and Doug Mientkiewicz scored on a wild pitch for all the offense the Yankees needed to complete the sweep against a division rival. Joba Chamberlain, who entered the game in mid-inning for the first time in the Majors, struck out the only batter he faced in the eighth inning. Mariano Rivera closed the door in the ninth for his 30th save.
“We’re right there and I mean we want to win it,” Pettitte said. “We would like to win this division but just thankful we’re playing good.”
With the Red Sox loss last night to the Toronto Blue Jays, the Yankees are now one back in the loss column after being behind by 14 1/2 as late as May 29th. Earlier in the day, the Cleveland Indians defeated the Detroit Tigers 4-2, which enabled the Yankees to extend their Wild Card lead to 5 1/2 games with last night’s win.
The Yankees are off today as they prepare for a weekend series at home against the suddenly hot Blue Jays, who completed a sweep of the Red Sox last night. The Bronx Bombers have now won four in a row, eight of their last 10 and 13 of 17 in September.
Mariano Rivera now has at least 30 saves in 10 of the past 11 seasons.