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GAME OF THE DAY

Matsui and Pettitte lift Yankees over .500

June 13, 2008|From the Associated Press

OAKLAND -- Hideki Matsui hit a grand slam on his 34th birthday to help Andy Pettitte move into a tie for fourth place on the New York Yankees career wins list with a 4-1 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Thursday night.

Pettitte (6-5) shut down the A's and tied Ron Guidry with his 170th victory with New York. Pettitte gave up one run and five hits in a season-high eight innings.

That's the kind of performance the Yankees had been missing from Pettitte of late. After opening the season with three wins in his first four starts, Pettitte has struggled the past seven weeks. Expected to be an anchor of the staff, he was 2-4 with a 6.20 earned-run average in nine starts entering Thursday night's game.

Pettitte helped the Yankees (34-33) move back over .500 by winning their first road series since taking two of three from the Chicago White Sox on April 22-24.

In a curious situation in the ninth inning, Pettitte came out to warm up even though closer Mariano Rivera had started running in from the bullpen. After Pettitte warmed up, Manager Joe Girardi came out and replaced him with Rivera, who earned his 18th save in 18 chances.

Rivera has saved 52 of Pettitte's wins, three shy of tying the record held by Dennis Eckersley for Bob Welch with Oakland, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

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