SEATTLE (REUTERS)–Andy Pettitte allowed just one run and three hits over eight innings as the New York Yankees drew first blood in the American League Championship Series with a 4-2 victory over the Seattle Mariners yesterday.
Coming off Monday night’s emotional Game Five win over the Oakland Athletics, the three-time defending World Series champions showed no letdown against the team that set the American League record with 116 wins this season.
Paul O’Neill’s two-run homer off Seattle starter Aaron Sele in the fourth inning staked Pettitte to a 3-0 lead and David Justice added an RBI single in the ninth for an insurance run.
Yankees closer Mariano Rivera gave up a run in the bottom of the ninth before inducing Edgar Martinez to ground out to end the late Seattle threat.
In two playoff starts this season, Pettitte has allowed two runs and 10 hits in 14 1/3 innings.
The Yankees got to Sele early, scoring a run in the second inning when Chuck Knoblauch’s infield single brought home Jorge Posada.
Pettitte, meanwhile, pitched four innings of no-hit ball and New York led 3-0 before the Mariners got on the board in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Martinez singled to right and Mike Cameron followed with a double to deep left, putting runners on second and third with no outs.
A John Olerud groundout brought home Martinez, but Pettitte struck out the next two Seattle batters to limit the damage.
Pettitte allowed just one more hit–a seventh-inning leadoff single to Bret Boone–before giving way to Rivera in the ninth.
Usually a sure thing, Rivera made things interesting before securing his third save of this postseason and 22nd of his career.
After yielding a one-out double to Japanese sensation Ichiro Suzuki, Rivera uncorked successive wild pitches with Boone at the plate, allowing Ichiro to score.
Rivera walked Boone to bring the tying run to the plate, but the sensational closer got Martinez on a slow roller to first to end the game.
The remarkably resilient Yankees have now won four straight playoff games, three of them on the road.
Game Two of the best-of-seven series is set for Thursday night in Seattle.