HOUSTON - New York Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte tossed his 26th complete game, and his first since returning to the Bronx in 2007, pitching brilliantly in his career finale and earning a 2-1 win over his hometown Houston Astros on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park.
Pettitte (11-11) last produced a complete game on Aug. 16, 2006 while pitching for the Astros, dropping a 1-0 decision to the Chicago Cubs.
He retired nine consecutive batters and had 105 pitches on his ledger entering the ninth inning and, after allowing a two-out single to Astros first baseman Chris Carter, got J.D. Martinez to ground out to third base.
Pettitte matched Whitey Ford for the franchise record with his 438th start and improved to 256-153 in his brilliant career, 219-127 with the Yankees (84-77). He allowed one run on five hits and two walks with five strikeouts, improving that career total to a franchise-best 2,020.
Pettitte needed a season-high 116 pitches to complete his final masterpiece, and tipped his hat to the adoring crowd following the victory. Houston (51-110) dropped its 14th consecutive decision.
Pettitte pitched efficiently. He surrendered a run in the fourth when Jose Altuve turned risky baserunning into a reward, scoring from second base when Chris Carter hit a ground ball deep in the hole between second and third bases. Shortstop Brendan Ryan erased Carter on the play, but Altuve rounded third hard and scored with ease.
Astros right-hander Paul Clemens appeared up to the task of matching Pettitte, retiring 10 consecutive batters after allowing singles to Alfonso Soriano and Ichiro Suzuki in the second inning. But after Yankees catcher Chris Stewart opened the sixth with a single, Clemens ran into trouble.
While pitching to Curtis Granderson in the sixth inning, Clemens doubled over in pain. After manager Bo Porter and the Astros training staff paid Clemens a lengthy visit, he remained in the game and struck out Granderson on the ensuing pitch. But Eduardo Nunez and Robinson Cano followed with singles, the latter of which scored Stewart and tied the score at 1-1.
NOTES: Yankees RHP Mariano Rivera ended speculation that he would log an inning in center field when he announced that Thursday night was his final game. The retiring Rivera cited his age and his surgically repaired knee as reasons he won't play defense. Rivera said his relief outing against Tampa Bay was the last of his career. ... Astros manager Bo Porter wants to get C Max Stassi at-bats before the season ends. Stassi was 0-for-1 Monday at Texas following his activation from the concussion list. He suffered the concussion against the Rangers on Aug. 21.