Pettitte Near Perfect as Yankees Top Orioles

Pettitte Near Perfect as Yankees Top Orioles BALTIMORE — Andy Pettitte retired his first 20 batters
before a lamentable seventh-inning sequence spoiled both his perfect game and
no-hit bid, and the New York Yankees beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-1 Monday
night.

Pettitte (12-6) was poised to finish the seventh without
allowing a baserunner, but former Oriole Jerry Hairston Jr. let a two-out
grounder by Adam Jones slip through his legs for an error. Hairston was playing
in place of Alex Rodriguez, who was given the night off.

Nick Markakis followed with an opposite-field single
inside the third-base line, drawing further groans from a crowd of 25,063 filled
with Yankees fans.

After Melvin Mora led off the eighth with a home run,
Pettitte completed his masterful effort by getting three straight outs.

The 37-year-old Pettitte took his dominance of the
Orioles to a new level with a vintage pitching gem that enabled him to move into
sole possession of third place on the Yankees career wins list. He broke a tie
with Lefty Gomez with his 190th victory with New York, a number bested by only
Hall of Famers Whitey Ford (236) and Red Ruffing (231).

Pettitte allowed one run and two hits, struck out eight
and walked none to improve to 4-0 in his last seven starts. He's 26-6 lifetime
against the Orioles, including 16-4 in Baltimore.

It was the first time Pettitte went eight innings since
July 20, 2008.

Brian Bruney gave up a walk and a single in the ninth
before Mariano Rivera got two outs for his 37th save – and career-best 33rd in a
row.

The only thing resembling a close call against Pettitte
over the first six innings came when Matt Wieters topped a slow grounder to
third with one out in the sixth. Hairston picked up the ball barehanded, and his
off-balance throw got Wieters by a step.

Nick Swisher homered and had three hits for the AL
East-leading Yankees, who have won four straight and 21 of 27. New York is 10-3
against the Orioles this season.

Baltimore starter Jeremy Guthrie (9-13) allowed two runs
and four hits in six innings. The right-hander was good, but on this night he
needed to be near perfect to outpitch Pettitte.

Guthrie matched Pettitte for two innings, retiring the
first six batters before Swisher led off the third with his 22nd homer and
fourth against Baltimore. Melky Cabrera followed with a one-out double but did
not advance.

New York used successive doubles by Robinson Cano and
Swisher to make it 2-0 in the fourth.

The Yankees pulled away with a three-run eighth that
featured an RBI single by Johnny Damon and a two-run double by Cano.

Notes
The Yankees announced ticket prices for potential
postseason home games. They range from $5 to $425, and some seats will cost less
than they did during the regular season. Season-ticket holders will get the
first chance to buy postseason tickets. The date for any public sale hasn't been
determined yet. … Orioles rookie Nolan Reimold's career-high run of reaching
base in 17 straight games ended. … Yankees RHP Sergio Mitre, who left his last
start after being struck in the right arm by a line drive, played light catch in
the outfield before the game. Manager Joe Girardi said RHP Chad Gaudin would
start Thursday at Toronto if Mitre cannot.

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