Alex Rodriguez did a lot of things right in tonight’s game. He had only one hit, and that was nothing more than a ground ball through the right side, but it drove in the game-winning runs. He scored only once, but that was the tying run setup by heads-up base running.
“Obviously great players do great things in big situations to win games,” Andy Pettitte said.
In the eighth, Rodriguez drew a walk while the Seattle crowd literally dropped dollar bills from the second deck. They booed him throughout the game, but Rodriguez kept his head. With runners at first and second, Rodriguez alertly took third on a pitch in the dirt. It’s the only way Jorge Posada was able to drive in the tying run by grounding into a double play.
“It’s a big ballpark and runs are at a premium in this park,” Rodriguez said. “I knew that Sweeney was a changeup master. I was just looking for a ball in the dirt and somehow get to third base.”
Rodriguez’s ninth-inning at-bat started with Mariners reliever David Aardsma throwing a fastball right by him. Rodriguez stepped back and made an instant adjustment, shortening his stroke to catch up to the ball.
“Self awareness is huge in this game and Alex understands himself as a hitter as well as anyone I’ve ever seen,” Joe Girardi said. “… He’s a complete player and he’s always been a complete player. He’s not just a hitter. He’s a complete player and he’s very smart, knows what he needs to do in given situations.”
• What more can you say about Andy Pettitte? Even he’s surprised by 11 wins at the all-star break. “It’s hard to think that you can do that, only because I’ve never had that great of a first half,” he said. “Everybody always talks about my second half and that’s in my head that you’re a second-half pitcher. I’m just thankful that I put together a good first half and I just want to keep going. Obviously the ultimate goal is winning another championship. That’s all I care about.”
• What happened on the throwing error in the sixth? “To tell you the truth I just panicked,” Pettitte said. “I know (Ichiro) is running. I know I’m slow. I just panicked. It’s terrible. I just grabbed it, turned and looked over there. I’m not even focusing on where I need to throw. I just kind of threw it over there into a group of people. I’m so thankful I was able to hold them to one run.”
• Pettitte said this was one of the few weeks when he worked on specific things in the bullpen. He wanted to iron out some mechanical things out of the windup and work on spotting his two-seamer down in the zone. He was happy with the progress of both.
• Great throw by Brett Gardner to get Ichiro at third base in the first inning. Might have completely changed the course of the game. “That’s a huge play, it’s an outstanding play for Gardy,” Girardi said. “For a guy that’s played mostly center in his career, he comes up and makes an extremely accurate throw on a great base runner.”
• A six-game winning streak ties a season-high for the Yankees.
• This was the fourth time Pettitte pitched at least eight innings this season. He’s thrown at least seven innings in seven of his past nine starts.
• Nick Swisher played like he still needed all-star votes. He was 4-for-4 with a walk and two doubles, including a huge two-base hit in the ninth. “This has never happened to me before,” he said after the game. “I’m just soaking it up. I’ve been all smiles all game long.”
• Mark Teixeira has now reached base safely in 29 straight games, the longest such streak by a Yankee this season, topping Derek Jeter’s 28-game streak.
• Swisher’s an all-star, and this was his 26th multi-hit game. How good has Robinson Cano been? Tonight was his 34th multi-hit game. That’s the third most in the majors behind Ichiro — of course — and the surprising National League all-star Martin Prado.
Associated Press photos of Rodriguez taking third base and Pettitte taking a throw from home plate.