Pettitte pitches Yankees to 8-2 victory over Angels
Pettitte won his fifth consecutive start and New York salvaged the finale of its three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels with an 8-2 victory Wednesday night.
The win was Torre’s 1,150th as manager of the Yankees, giving him sole possession of second place on the franchise chart behind Joe McCarthy (1,460).
Torre, who took over the club in 1996 after stints managing the Mets, Braves and Cardinals, had been tied with Hall of Famer Casey Stengel at No. 2. Torre said passing Stengel was particularly special.
“I was growing up in the ’40s and ’50s in New York during the five straight championships, and Casey was obviously the architect of that whole thing,” Torre said. “I’m very proud of this—you wear this uniform and you start passing legends like that.
“Getting to know him later on when I was a player, and just knowing the colorful character he was—sort of like Yogi, where he’d say a lot of things, but there was a gem in there somewhere. I’m a big bore compared to him. He talked in riddles a lot and people laughed at him, but he knew what the managing job was all about.”
Stengel died in 1975 at age 85.
After the final out against the Angels, the only team with a winning record against the Yankees during Torre’s tenure, the manager received hugs from Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera, who gave him the souvenir ball.
Pettitte (11-7) allowed one run and five hits in seven innings, coming to the rescue for the Yankees yet again. He struck out six and walked two in a dominant performance, one night after the Angels roughed up New York’s pitching staff for an 18-9 rout highlighted by Garret Anderson’s 10 RBIs.
Bobby Abreu led off the eighth with his 15th homer, chasing the right-hander. Later in the inning, Posada’s third hit, a two-run double off Scot Shields, and Cabrera’s second RBI single gave New York a six-run lead.
“Offensively, they’re obviously a powerhouse,” Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia said. “John didn’t make too many mistakes, but they caught up with John and with Shields, too.”
The Yankees won for only the fifth time in their last 16 tries at Anaheim and moved within five games of AL East leader Boston. They’re 1 1/2 back of Seattle in the wild-card race.
The AL West-leading Angels remained two games in front of the Mariners.
Pettitte has a history of being a stopper, with a 68-33 record for the Yankees in games immediately following a loss by the team.
“I love to go out and give us a good start when we need one,” he said. “Obviously, I take lot of pride in all my starts and I take a lot of pride in the fact that I’m able to give us some big ones whenever we have some losses. So I’m thankful for that.”
Scioscia was impressed.
“I think he had a better fastball than when we saw him earlier this season,” the manager said. “He had good life on his pitches, changed speeds, did a fine job.”
Pettitte is 7-1 in his last nine starts since July 12. He is 5-0 this month and 44-16 in August during his career, the second-highest winning percentage since 1900 for a pitcher with at least 60 decisions. Yankees great Lefty Gomez tops that list with a 39-14 record in August.
Joba Chamberlain struck out three in the eighth, including Vladimir Guerrero on three pitches to end the inning. Guerrero fouled off an 0-1 fastball that was clocked at 100 mph, then swung and missed at a slider.
The rookie sensation has 14 strikeouts while allowing only three hits in eight scoreless innings spanning six appearances this year.
Rivera allowed a run in the ninth.
Lackey gave up four runs and 10 hits. He walked three and struck out four.
Orlando Cabrera pulled the Angels even at 1 with his solo shot in the sixth. The homer was Cabrera’s eighth, and only the second home run—both solo shots— that Pettitte has allowed in his last 10 starts.
Cano’s infield single in the fourth, a high chopper just to the right of the mound that Lackey fielded, scored Alex Rodriguez to give the Yankees their first lead.
Anderson, who had a grand slam, a three-run homer, a two-run double and another run-scoring double the previous night, went 1-for-3 in the series finale. The Angels won the opener 7-6 in 10 innings. … Los Angeles 3B Chone Figgins had his injured left wrist examined and the diagnosis was a bone bruise. He is day-to-day. Figgins hurt his wrist on a checked swing in the third inning Tuesday.