Season No. 6 of the Juice has entered the final weekend! Stop by in the final days of the regular season for news from the action, along with great photos, stats, video highlights and more..
The week of grand exits around baseball could not have ended on a higher note. Andy Pettitte, making his final career start in his hometown, against the only other team he played for, the Houston Astros, tossed his first complete game since 2006 to lead the New York Yankees to a 2-1 victory.
The 41-year-old left-hander wasn't overpowering, but remained in firm command while holding Houston to one run on five hits. He struck out a modest five. The only damage came in the fourth inning when Jose Altuve singled leading off and then moved around to score on Chris Carter's groundout. But the real drama was saved for the ninth inning when manager Joe Girardi had to decide if he was going let Pettitte go the distance.
After Chris Carter singled with two outs, Girardi made his way to the mound to look Pettitte in the eyes and see how much was left in the tank. It's a walk Girardi has made a hundred times as Pettitte's catcher and manager. After a quick conversation, the reassured skipper turned back around and headed to the dugout. There was probably never a doubt in Girardi's mind anyway that Pettitte would continue, but there was definitely no doubt in Pettitte's mind. In fact, when he learned Mariano Rivera wasn't going to pitch this weekend, he almost made it his final mission to go the distance.
''I told Mo I might finish the game off if you're not in the bullpen,'' Pettitte said.
And then he accomplished it, retiring J.D. Martinez on a ground ball to wrap up the win and end his phenomenal career with an absolute gem.
''I was pulling for him, knowing that he was there alone,'' Rivera said. ''This was his game and we just had to cheer for him, and that's what we did - that's what I did.''
With the win, Pettitte finishes with 256 career wins and an 11-11 mark this season. The latter may not seem significant at first look, but according to Elias it makes Pettitte the first pitcher in MLB history to pitch 18 or more seasons without a losing season.
That's an amazing stat that perfectly defines Pettitte's amazing career.
Blue Jays 7, Rays 2: Tampa Bay entered the weekend controlling their own destiny, but back-to-back losses have them one game behind Cleveland and tied with Texas. Another loss on Sunday could send them home.
Rangers 7, Angels 4: Texas wins their sixth in a row to stay in the mix on Sunday. Another win would extend their season. A win and a Rays loss gives them the second wild card.
Orioles 6, Red Sox 5: Baltimore won the season series, but Boston clinched home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with Oakland's loss earlier in the day.
Mariners 7, A's 5: Seattle rookie Brad Miller homered twice, including his first career grand slam.
Cardinals 6, Cubs 2: St. Louis moves one game ahead of Atlanta for home-field in the NL playoffs. Adam Wainwright won his 19th game, meaning he'll finish tied with Jordan Zimmermann for the league lead.
Phillies 5, Braves 4: Tough loss for Atlanta was overshadowed by dugout confrontation between Chris Johnson and Terry Pendleton.
Marlins 2, Tigers 1 (10 inn.): Miami scored one in the ninth and tenth innings to pull off the upset. They will go for the sweep on Sunday.
Brewers 4, Mets 2 (10 inn.): Four-hit game for Carlos Gomez, including another first-inning home run.
Rockies 1, Dodgers 0: After allowing 25 total runs in their last two games, six Colorado pitchers combined on the shutout. Starter Juan Nicasio pitched into the sixth.
White Sox 6, Royals 5: Chicago fired hitting coach Jeff Manto following the game.
Nationals 2, Diamondbacks 0: Veteran Dan Haren finished a rough year with perhaps his best overall outing — four hits over seven scoreless innings.
''Ten days off is too much, I think, between starts. It's good to get in there, get some good work in, get a knock and get the win.''
— Adam Wainwright on squeezing in a start before the postseason.
Even Alex Gordon doesn't understand what Scott Van Slyke is doing here.
• According to STATS, Cubs starter Edwin Jackson is the fourth pitcher since 2000 to throw a no-hitter and later lose 17 or more games. Ubaldo Jimenez, Derek Lowe and Justin Verlander are the other three.
• The Brewers announced Ron Roenicke's entire coaching staff will return in 2014.
• Zack Greinke finished with 19 hits at the plate, most by a Dodgers pitcher since Orel Hershiser had 26 in 1993.