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Yankees beat Mariners as Andy Pettitte earns 250th career victory

Yankees starting pitcher Andy Pettitte throws in the

Yankees starting pitcher Andy Pettitte throws in the third inning against the Seattle Mariners. (June 8, 2013) Photo Credit: AP

SEATTLE -- As his son was being interviewed, Andy Pettitte stood about 10 feet away, wearing a smile and the unmistakable look of a proud father.

The 40-year-old lefthander had just earned his 250th victory in the Yankees' 3-1 win over the Mariners at Safeco Field. At about the same time that result became secure, courtesy of another Mariano Rivera save, news of another kind had broken.

Pettitte, emerging from a shower and a shave after 71/3 strong innings, heard that his 18- year-old son, Josh, had been selected out of Deer Park (Texas) High School by the Yankees in the 37th round of the draft.

"Just gave him a big hug and a kiss, told him I loved him and was proud of him," said Pettitte, who allowed one run and three hits in improving to 5-3, 3.82. "It's special. I'll remember this one."

Josh Pettitte, a righthander who threw two no-hitters in his senior season, is committed to Baylor. From the start, the family's intent has been that he'll pitch there and not sign with whichever team might draft him.

"I said let's see what happens three years from now," Andy Pettitte said. "Dad wants him to go to school."

Yankees scouting director Damon Oppenheimer said Josh Pettitte first appeared on the team's radar last summer. Area scouts liked the improvement they saw while keeping tabs on him, most recently during a high school tournament. "You kept seeing him get better and better," Oppenheimer said by phone Saturday night after overseeing the club's draft. "Our guys think he's going to be a prospect. You don't know if that's going to be this summer or after three years at Baylor."

Oppenheimer spoke with Andy Pettitte before the draft and knew the family's plan to have Josh play at Baylor. Oppenheimer said the pick was worthwhile because "people can change their minds," whether it be because of the college coach leaving, the player reconsidering or some other unforeseen reason. "And so the last thing you want to be is the team that didn't draft him ," Oppenheimer said.

Josh called it "a great honor and a blessing getting the call from the team you've grown up watching," pausing when he saw Joba Chamberlain recording the media scrum on his iPhone.

Josh received the call from one of the Yankees' area scouts who had kept track of him. "It was really a special moment," the 6-1, 190-pound pitcher said.

The smile Josh wore during his short news conference grew wider. "It's a good day for the Pettittes, I guess," he said.

And also for the Yankees (36-26), who got two clutch RBI singles from Jayson Nix and three hits, including two doubles, from Brett Gardner.

Nix's two-out RBI single off Joe Saunders (4-6, 5.12), in the fifth broke a 1-1 tie, and his one-out RBI single in the seventh made it 3-1. That made up for a misplay by Nix at shortstop that set up Seattle's only run.

Pettitte, who is 250-145 in 18 seasons, retired 12 straight before Nick Franklin's leadoff single in the eighth. After Michael Saunders popped out, David Robertson walked Brendan Ryan but got out of the inning by retiring two former Mets, Endy Chavez on a forceout and Jason Bay on a flyout.

Rivera allowed a leadoff single to Kyle Seager in the ninth and a two-out walk to former teammate Raul Ibañez but wound up striking out the side for his 22nd save in 23 chances.

It was the 71st time Pettitte and Rivera have teamed up for a win-save combination, extending their record.

"That's wonderful," said Rivera, 43. "Being able to be there for his 250th, that's special. A lot of [big] games he's been there for us."

Earlier Rivera spoke loudly so Pettitte could hear. "He'll have to stay another five, six years so he can play with Josh," Rivera joked.

Pettitte the elder laughed and replied: "No chance."


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