Andy Pettitte seemed to further secure a spot in the all-star game, Alex Rodriguez broke a 49-at-bat homerless streak and Colin Curtis made his first big league hit a good one.
It was a good night for the Yankees.
Pettitte allowed two runs through seven innings, but he’s pitched so well this season that his ERA actually went up from 2.47 to 2.48. As manager Joe Girardi said, “As long as he wasn’t facing Danny Haren he was really good.”
Rodriguez had three hits in a week since coming back from hip flexor tendonitis, but he was encouraged by a double and a drive to right-center field last night. “Sometimes you take four or five days off and it takes you a day or two to get back in sync,” Rodriguez said. “Kevin Long and I are spending long hours in the batting cage and we both feel pretty good about what’s about to happen.”
Curtis was playing in front of his mother, father, brother and several friends from Arizona State. He had played in this stadium in college, but he never had a bigger hit than that two-run double that capped a six-run eighth inning. “You always imagined, dreamed of playing in the big leagues some day,” Curtis said. “I think it’s kind of cool that the first time is right down where I played college ball.”
• The one run-scoring hit Pettitte allowed was the two-out, two-run single by Haren. It was an 0-2 fastball that Pettitte tried to waste off the plate to setup a cutter in the dirt. Instead, Haren went after it and slapped a single. “Those are daggers in the heart,” Pettitte said.
• Rodriguez and Derek Jeter were taken out of the game strictly to let them rest. No injury concerns.
• No injury concerns for Jorge Posada either after catching for a second straight night. “I even asked him in the ninth inning,” Girardi said. “He said, ‘I feel good.’”
• Haren is a groundball pitcher who thrives on a sinker and a splitfinger. The Yankees did not ground out a single time against him, and only grounded out twice in the game. “He has a good sinker and he has a split, and I thought our guys just missed some balls too,” Girardi said. “We didn’t ground out a lot, that’s for sure. Lefties a lot of time are low-ball hitters.”
• Rodriguez on the home run: “I got a good 1-1 fastball and drove it to left-center. That’s a pitch that I’ve been either grounding out to third base hard to maybe flying out to right. I put a pretty good swing on it.”
• Rodriguez on his home runs in general: “I’ve never considered myself a home run hitter,” he said. “What I do concern myself with is driving in runs and getting guys in from third base, stuff like that.” The guy is about to hit his 600th. I say this with all due respect, it’s probably time he starts thinking of himself as a home run hitter. It’s OK to say it. It’s not boasting. It’s just the truth.
• Nick Swisher has a modest five-game hitting streak and has reached base in 30 of 34 road games this season. Each of the Yankees top four hitters had two hits tonight.
• Pettitte’s fifth-inning single was his first hit since June 19, 2009. “It’s always nice to get a hit,” Pettitte said. “Unfortunately I gave up two hits to their guy.”
Associated Press photos of Curtis and Pettitte.