Yep, things are falling into place nicely for the New York Yankees.
Rodriguez drove in two more runs, Pettitte breezed for eight innings and the Yankees won their ninth straight game, beating the Arizona Diamondbacks 7-1 Thursday.
“It’s fun right now to come to the ballpark and do this,” Pettitte said.
Playing with a fresh bounce in their step, the Yankees finished off another sweep—they brushed aside Pittsburgh last weekend—and extended their longest winning streak since a 10-game run in 2005. Next up, the New York Mets visit for the Subway Series.
Torre certainly enjoyed the view, standing in front of the steps that lead up to the field, rather than taking his usual seat on the padded blue bench. Before the game, the manager indicated it was a bit of superstition to help his team score runs.
“I have a system,” Torre said. “I’ll let you in on it sometime down the road. It’s not very complicated.”
He’s not the only one with a little routine. After the national anthem, Hideki Matsui gave a playful kick to Melky Cabrera’s leg and Robinson Cano tapped his glove on Derek Jeter’s shoulder as they prepared to take their positions. Matsui then went out and drove in three runs.
“You start feeling good about yourself and things start going your way,” Torre said.
At 33-31, the Yankees matched their high point this season. A modest mark, certainly, but a vast improvement for a club that was eight games under .500 and 14 1/2 games behind Boston barely two weeks ago.
After the Red Sox lost 7-1 to the Colorado Rockies on Thursday night, the Yankees were within 7 1/2 games of first place.
“We played bad, but that didn’t mean we were a bad team,” Jeter said.
Arizona was 10 games over .500 when it came to Yankee Stadium, but dropped three in a row. The debunked D-backs made three costly errors and lost for the sixth time in seven games.
“Obviously, we caught this team at the wrong time,” manager Bob Melvin said. “We didn’t play well enough to win today. We didn’t pitch well enough, we didn’t swing the bats well enough. It ended up being a bad game for us.”
“We don’t usually kick it around as much,” he said.
The Diamondbacks also saw second baseman Orlando Hudson hobble off the field after jamming his left ankle running out a single. It’s been a recurring injury, and he was listed as day to day.
Pitching a day before his 35th birthday, Pettitte (4-4) gave up a run and four hits. He retired 10 straight batters in the middle innings and kept out of trouble—Arizona was hitless in its only two at-bats with runners in scoring position and 0-for-13 in the series.
Pettitte also beat a team that had caused him problems in the past. He lost twice to the Diamondbacks in the 2001 World Series, and had been 1-5 against them in the regular season.
Rodriguez drew a bases-loaded walk in the first inning, doubled home a run in the third and added two singles. He has 21 RBIs in his last nine games and a major league-leading 68 RBIs overall.
“I was as proud of my walk as any other at-bat,” Rodriguez said. “Take what they give you.”
Doug Davis (4-8) began the afternoon with a curious record against the Yankees—3-1 despite a 6.08 ERA in five starts.
The lefty ran into immediate danger when Cabrera, Jeter and Bobby Abreu opened the New York first with singles, loading the bases with no outs for Rodriguez. A walk and Matsui’s RBI grounder made it 2-0.
Rodriguez and Matsui hit RBI doubles in the third. Matsui singled home a run in the seventh, and another run scored on the play when center fielder Chris Young’s throw to third skipped into the seats. Young later missed a sliding catch on Josh Phelps’ RBI single.
The only other time the Yankees were two games over .500 was at 8-6 after play on April 19. … Abreu has hit safely in all 13 games in June. He’s 22-for-50 (.440) with 12 walks in that span. … Roger Clemens is to start against the Mets on Friday night against Oliver Perez. … Hairston made a perfect throw from left field to nail Cabrera at the plate. … Arizona LHP Doug Slaten gave up an unearned run while getting one out. The reliever’s right hand was bandaged Wednesday, a day after he was hit by a batted ball during batting practice.