Andy Pettitte threw a complete-game five-hitter in the final outing of his 18-year Major League Baseball career as the New York Yankees beat the Houston Astros 2-1.
Pettitte, 41, a former Astro who grew up and lives in the Houston area, drew several standing ovations at Minute Maid Park last night after allowing one earned run while throwing a season-high 116 pitches to capture his first complete game since Aug. 16, 2006. He struck out five and walked two, ending the contest with a J.D. Martinez ground out to third base, stranding a player on first.
Pettitte, who on Sept. 20 said he’s retiring, raised his record to 11-11 this season, becoming the only pitcher in major-league history to play more than 15 years without having a losing season.
“It’s absolutely mind-boggling,” Pettitte said in a televised interview on the YES Network about throwing a complete game to end his career. “It just couldn’t end any better.”
Pettitte retires with a 256-153 record and a win total that ranks 42nd in major-league history.
Leading 2-1 in the bottom of the ninth, Pettitte allowed a two-out, two-strike single to Chris Carter, prompting a quick visit to the mound from Yankees manager Joe Girardi. With prompting of teammates, Pettitte told Girardi that he wanted to stay in the game.
Pettitte’s outing came two days after closer Mariano Rivera, the sport’s all-time leader in saves, pitched his final game at Yankee Stadium. Rivera, who also is retiring, told reporters yesterday that he would not be pitching in the series in Houston, according to YES.
Rivera and Pettitte, along with shortstop Derek Jeter and catcher Jorge Posada, in 1995 joined a Yankees’ team that went on to win World Series titles in 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2009.
Pettitte said he spoke to Rivera, known as Mo, just after pitching the complete game, the 26th of his career.
“I told Mo, ‘See, I might be able to finish some games off if you’re not out in the bullpen,’” Pettitte said.