A-Rod Powers Pettitte To No. 10 As Yanks Pound D-Backs

GAME 71
YANKEES 9, DIAMONDBACKS 3

Andy Pettitte’s last memory of Chase Field was the 15-2 pounding he took in Game 6 of the 2001 World Series. But in one tough seven-inning performance, Pettitte wiped that bad memory away.

Pettitte (10-2) gave up two runs on seven hits and two walks and fanned seven batters en route to his 10th victory of the season as the New York Yankees pounded the Diamondbacks with six eighth-inning runs to beat Arizona 9-3 on Tuesday night.

Alex Rodriguez provided most of the early offense with a two-run home run in the first inning and two-out RBI single in the third inning off losing pitcher Dan Haren (7-6) to put the Yankees ahead for good.

Rodriguez’s home run, the 10th of the season and 592nd of his career, was his first home run since June 3 at home against Baltimore, a stretch of 17 games and 51 at-bats.

With the victory, the Yankees improved their season record to 44-27 and, by virtue of losses by both the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays, they extended their lead in the American League East to 1 1/2 games. The Diamondbacks, in last place in the National League West, dropped to 28-44.

YANKEE POSITIVES

  • The soreness in Rodriguez’s left hip has certainly hampered the All-Star third baseman but he is starting to show signs of coming around at the plate. His 2-for-3 night raised his average back to .281 and he is second on the team with 48 RBIs.
  • Pettitte only had trouble pitching to Haren, who was 2-for-2 off Pettitte, including a two-out two-run single in the second inning that tied the score at 2-2. Haren came into the game batting .425. Throw out Haren’s singles and Pettitte would have ended up pitching five-hit shutout baseball over seven innings.
  • Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira helped spark the 12-hit attack with a pair of singles each. Jeter scored two runs and Teixeira scored a run and drove in a run. 
  • Nick Swisher again showed signs he is not the same guy who hit .249 last season. He was 2-for-5 with a double and scored two runs. He is now batting .298 on the season.
  • Colin Curtis, an Arizona State product, came through with his first major-league hit and RBI in his second plate appearance. He hit a two-out, two-run pinch-hit double in the eighth inning off former Diamondbacks closer Chad Qualls to make it 9-2.
THE NEGATIVES

  • Brett Gardner was 0-for-3 with a walk and struck out twice. He looked overmatched at the plate against Haren in particular. He struck out in his first two at-bats, once looking and once swinging on a pitch inside that landed in the dirt. Gardner was 4-for-4 on Monday night.
  • Pettitte was frustrated by two-out hits all evening. Of the Diamondbacks seven hits and two walks off him, four hits and both walks came with two out.
  • Gardner also was embarrassed in his one time he reached base. With Pettitte at the plate and one out in the seventh inning, Gardner attempted to steal second as Pettitte faked a bunt and swung and missed on strike three. Diamondbacks catcher Chris Snyder gunned down Gardner at second base. It was only the fifth time Gardner had been caught stealing this season in 28 attempts (82%).
  • I do not criticize Robinson Cano and Jorge Posada here to single them out. I only mention this to illustrate how good-hitting teams can lose games by not thinking. Haren entered the sixth inning with a pitch count of 83. The Yankees needed to get his pitch count to 100 quickly to get him out of a 3-2 game. After Rodriguez struck out on five pitches, Cano and Posada swung and flied out on first pitches leaving Haren with just a seven-pitch inning. That is not smart.
DIAMOND NOTES

Posada caught Tuesday night for the second consecutive game. It was the first time Posada had been behind the plate in back-to-back games since he fractured his right foot and returned from the disabled list on June 2.  Posada likely will yield the catching duties to Francisco Cervelli on Wedmesday.  The Yankees designated third catcher Chad Moeller for assignment on Monday in order to recall Curtis from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. So it would seem that the Yankees expect no further problems with Posada’s foot going forward.  . . .  The Yankees are concerned about the way Chan Ho Park has been pitching lately. In his last three outings he has given up seven hits and five runs in 2 2/3 innings. He gave up a three-run home run to Justin Upton on Monday that ended the Yankees’ slim hopes of a ninth-inning comeback. 
THE NEXT GAME

The Yankees will try to win the three-game series on Thursday with veteran right-hander Javier Vazquez (6-6, 5.01 ERA) on the mound.
Vazquez is coming off a very frustrating loss on Friday despite the fact he pitched as well he has in the past month. He gave up only one run on three hits to the New York Mets as the Yankees were shut out for the first time all season at Yankee Stadium.  Vazquez is 5-3 against his former team with 3.74 ERA. 
The Diamondbacks will counter with left-hander Dontrelle Willis (2-2, 4.78 ERA). Willis gave up five runs on five hits in five innings against his former teammates in Detroit on Friday. In his three starts with the Diamondbacks, Willis is 1-0 with a 4.20 ERA but has walked 14 batters in 15 innings. Willis is 0-1 with a 2.25 ERA in his one career start against the Yankees.
Game-time will be 9:40 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast by the YES Network.

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