Pitching under the watchful eye of George Steinbrenner, Andy Pettitte may have saved his spot in the Yankees' rotation. And his job in New York, too.
Pettitte, squarely on the trading block during a disappointing season, survived one bad inning yesterday and helped the Yankees beat the visiting Atlanta Braves, 11-4.
"Every year I've been here, my name has turned up in trade talks," Pettitte said. "I wasn't thinking about that. I love it here and I want to stay here. But wherever I'm meant to be, I'll be."
Pettitte (6-7) lasted 5 2/3 innings and slightly lowered his ERA to a still-high 5.55.
Bernie Williams and Chuck Knoblauch homered early, and the Yankees batted around in a five-run fifth to block the Braves' bid for a three-game sweep.
New York scored in the last six innings in stopping Atlanta's four-game winning streak in the interleague matchup of division leaders.
The sellout crowd of 55,785 observed a moment of silence before the game for John F. Kennedy Jr. and his family. Kennedy, who was missing yesterday after an apparent plane crash, sat in a front-row box next to the Yankees dugout Thursday night.
"He was at our ballpark the other night," Yankees Manager Joe Torre said. "It was very sad to hear that."
Later, the fans chanted "Go on strike!" at the umpires when Brian Jordan's drive down the right field line -- which replays showed was foul -- was ruled a home run by Ted Barrett. The crowd also cheered when umpire Chuck Meriwether's mask was knocked off by a foul tip.
Pettitte (6-7) heard cheers when he skipped off the mound in the sixth with an 8-3 lead. He won for only the third time in nine starts.
Earlier this week, Steinbrenner said Pettitte needed to show improvement, and the owner watched from his box. With the Florida Marlins offering former World Series MVP Livan Hernandez and other pitchers possibly available, the Yankees want to set their rotation for an anticipated run in the postseason.
DIAMONDBACKS 8, RANGERS 6: Tony Womack's fly ball into the sun turned into a two-run double as Arizona took advantage of a rare summer day game at Texas to win in 10 innings. Jay Bell hit two homers for Arizona, including a solo shot off John Wetteland (3-4) in the ninth inning to tie the game at 6.
The Diamondbacks won it in the 10th. With one out, David Dellucci reached on an infield single. Wetteland then walked Travis Lee and Hanley Frias, loading the bases.
Esteban Loaiza came in and struck out Kelly Stinnett before Womack lifted a fly ball to left field that would have ended the inning. But Rusty Greer could not pick up the ball in the late afternoon sun and the ball fell in front of him, allowing Dellucci and Lee to score.
This was the Rangers' first home day game in July or August in nearly four years.
PIRATES 13, INDIANS 10: Kevin Young and Al Martin each homered twice and host Pittsburgh again turned to big innings to beat Cleveland at its own game.
The Pirates scored 24 runs and had 29 hits -- 16 yesterday -- in outscoring the majors' highest-scoring team 24-13 over the final two games of the series after losing 2-0 Thursday.
Young matched a career high with five RBI on a two-run homer after Martin's two-run shot in the fourth and a three-run drive off reliever Steve Reed in the sixth. The second Young homer made it 11-6 after the Indians had cut Pittsburgh's 7-2 lead to 7-6.
CARDINALS 8, WHITE SOX 6: Eli Marrero hit a three-run double in the eighth inning to bail out Kent Bottenfield and host St. Louis. Bottenfield squandered a chance to become the NL's only 15-game winner when he allowed six runs in the fifth inning, including a grand slam to Magglio Ordonez.
BREWERS 11, ROYALS 3: Mark Loretta had a career-high five hits and Alex Ochoa homered twice as host Milwaukee won a game interrupted by a power outage. The game was delayed 29 minutes in the top of the seventh inning when nearly all the floodlights simultaneously went dark.
MARINERS 9, PADRES 1: Russ Davis, Alex Rodriguez and Raul Ibanez hit the first home runs at Seattle's new Safeco Field and Freddy Garcia won his 10th game, most among American League rookies, as the Mariners broke a seven-game losing streak.
PHILLIES 11, RED SOX 3: In Boston, Randy Wolf became the first Philadelphia pitcher in 19 years to win his first five decisions and Ron Gant drove in five runs, including a two-run homer.
DEVIL RAYS 3, METS 2: Wade Boggs moved closer to 3,000 career hits, singling twice and driving in a run in St. Petersburg, Fla. He needs 15 hits to reach the milestone.
REDS 3, ROCKIES 2: In Cincinnati, Larry Walker tied the game with a pinch-hit, two-run homer in the ninth, but Jeffrey Hammonds homered in the bottom of the inning.
BLUE JAYS 6, MARLINS 1: In Toronto, Jose Cruz Jr. hit a tiebreaking two-run double in the eighth and David Wells pitched his third complete game.
GIANTS 7, ATHLETICS 2: In Oakland, Barry Bonds broke out of a slump with a three-run double in a six-run eighth.
TWINS 8, CUBS 0: At Wrigley Field, rookie Joe Mays pitched his first major league shutout and Denny Hocking homered on the game's first pitch.
DODGERS 13, ANGELS 3: In Anaheim, Raul Mondesi hit his first home run in 113 at-bats and Eric Karros homered twice and drove in five runs.
ASTROS 3, TIGERS 2: Derek Bell walked with the bases loaded in the 10th inning to give host Houston its sixth straight win.