Pitching in front of his hometown crowd, making his final major league start, Andy Pettitte, like Mariano Rivera, went out on the top of his game, tossing a complete-game, five-hitter, giving up just one run as the Yankees defeated the Houston Astros 2-1 Saturday night at Minute Maid Park.
"I couldn't have dreamed of this working out the way it did," Pettitte said. "I'm just so thankful and feel so blessed and fortunate. I just feel like God worked this out exactly perfect; another day I'll never forget."
Pettitte, who will retire with the most starts, wins and innings than any other player to pitch in the postseason, took the mound as the Yankees best starters over the better half of two months, and even though he was facing the Astros -- baseball's worst team, and losers of 14 straight games -- he still made it look easy.
"I'm trying to figure out why the guy is retiring, as well as he threw the ball tonight," Astros manager Bo Porter said.
The Astros took a 1-0 lead off Pettitte in the 4th inning. Jose Altuve -- Houston's best player -- used some very heads up baserunning to score from second base on a routine groundout to the shortstop Brendan Ryan by Chris Carter.
Pettitte wasn't giving up much on the night, permitting just four hits through the first eight innings. Robinson Cano tied the game in the top half of the 6th with a single to right field to score Chris Stewart from third base. Eduardo Nunez would score a couple batters later when the Yankees had the bases loaded on Astros catcher Matt Pagnozzi was about to attempted a throwdown to second when he accidentally spiked the ball into the ground, rolling away far enough for Nunez to score from third.
Then as the game went on, and Pettitte made it through the 6th, 7th and then the 8th innings, Yankees manager Joe Girardi sent Pettitte out to the mound to start the 9th at 105.
Pettitte retired the first two batters of the inning, before giving up a two-out single to Chris Carter. Girardi walked out to the mound to have a quick chat with Pettitte, deciding to leave him in the game to get the last out. It was a good decision.
"We left the decision in his hands every inning that he went back out," Girardi said. "He said, 'I can finish it.' I said, 'Go ahead then.'"
Then Pettitte got JD Martinez to groundout to Nunez at third base to end the game, giving Andy his first complete-game since 2006, when he was a member of the Astros.
Pettitte tossed 116-pitches, giving up one run on five hits, while walking two and striking out five. Just as he has been over the past weeks, he was at the top of his game, and there was no better way for him to go out like this pitching, pitching in front of his fellow Texans.
"It's a shame we've got to get old and you can't just continue to play this game," Pettitte said. "But just how blessed and fortunate I am, to be able to play a game and get paid to do it, it's just been incredible."