When Andy Pettitte decides to retire, he will be remembered by Yankee fans as one of the best pitchers in pinstripes. With the way Pettitte is pitching this season, retirement may not come for several more years.
On Friday night at Yankee Stadium, Pettitte became the 35th pitcher to win 200 games as a Yankee as New York knocked off Houston, 4-3, in the opener of the three game interleague series. Pettitte joined Whitey Ford and Red Ruffing as the only pitchers to win at least 200 games for New York.
Pettitte (8-1), who pitched for Houston from 2004-06, allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits over 7.1 innings. He also struck out four and walked one. Mariano Rivera pitched a perfect ninth for his 15th save.
Houston starter Brett Myers (4-4) settled down after a rocky start. In seven innings, Myers allowed four runs on five hits with five strikeouts and three walks. The Yankees collected three hits in the first inning, but only tallied two hits for the rest of the game.
Friday was the seventh anniversary of Houston’s combined no-hitter against New York.
New York grabbed an early lead with a three-run bottom of the first. The Yankees loaded the bases with one out on a double, walk, and single. Nick Swisher picked up an RBI when he walked on a 3-2 pitch to force in the first run. After Jorge Posada struck out, Francisco Cervelli delivered a two-out, two-run single up the middle to give the Yankees a 3-0 lead.
Houston immediately answered with a pair of runs in the top of the second. With runners at first and third and two outs, Tommy Manzella roped a two-run double down the right field line to cut the Yankees lead to 3-2.
Kevin Russo walked to lead off the bottom of the fifth and stole second. After Myers retired the next two hitters, Mark Teixeira came through with a bloop single to shallow right to score Russo and give the Yankees a two-run lead.
Houston scratched across a run in the top of the eighth. Manzella led off with a single and pinch hitter Humberto Quintero hit a ground ball to second that appeared to be a double play. However, Derek Jeter dropped the throw from Robinson Cano and everyone was safe.
After a sacrifice bunt moved both runners into scoring position, Joba Chamberlain relieved Pettitte. Jeff Keppinger’s sacrifice fly cut the Yankees lead to 4-3, but Chamberlain struck out Lance Berkman to end the inning.
Houston and New York will continue their interleague series on Saturday. Wandy Rodriguez (3-8, 4.95) will start for the Astros, while the Yankees will counter with Javier Vazquez (5-5, 5.63). First pitch is set for 1:05 pm.
5 p.m. ET.