Seattle, WA (Sports Network) – Alex Rodriguez plated Derek Jeter and Nick Swisher with a seeing-eye single to right in the ninth inning, sending the Yankees to a 3-1 victory over the Mariners.
David Aardsma (0-6) yielded a one-out walk to Jeter, who moved to third on Swisher’s double to right. After Mark Teixeira fouled out to the catcher, Rodriguez stepped in and dribbled an 0-1 fastball through the right side of the infield. Jeter scored easily and Swisher slid in safely in front of Ichiro Suzuki’s throw home.
The rally made of a winner of Andy Pettitte (11-2), who only gave up one run on five hits and four walks while fanning nine of eight innings of work.
“I felt good. I have been disappointed with my mechanics out of the windup the last two or three starts,” Pettitte said. “I worked hard in between to get some stuff worked on in the bullpen and I was able to carry it into tonight.”
Mariano Rivera, who earlier in the week announced he will not pitch in the All-Star game because of nagging injuries, closed out New York’s sixth straight win with a 1-2-3 ninth for his 20th save of the season.
Swisher, who on Thursday became the final American League All-Star as chosen by fan voting, went 4-for-4 with two doubles and a walk in the win.
Suzuki had two of Seattle’s five hits, as the hosts dropped their fourth straight and seventh in eight games overall.
Mariners starter Jason Vargas was charged with one run on nine hits and two walks in seven-plus solid innings.
“I thought Vargas was real good when you think about who he was opposing,” Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said. “I thought he pitched as well, if not better (than Pettitte).”
The Yankees had runners on base in each inning, but it was the Mariners that broke the scoreless tie in the sixth. Josh Wilson and Michael Saunders each singled to open the frame, and Suzuki laid down a bunt just in front of the plate that Pettitte fielded and threw away, allowing Wilson to score.
Pettitte wound up getting out of a bases-loaded jam later in the frame by striking out Russell Branyan and Jose Lopez.
Vargas was pulled after putting the first two hitters on in the eighth. Brian Sweeney came in and his wild pitch allowed Rodriguez to advance to third, proving vital as Jorge Posada’s double-play grounder scored the tying run.
Pettitte has won six of his last seven decisions and lowered his earned-run average to 2.70. The veteran lefty improved to 11-11 in 23 career starts against the Mariners…Rodriguez’s hit in the ninth was the only hit for the Yankees in 11 opportunities with runners in scoring position. They stranded 12…Curtis Granderson had three hits in the win.