Lou Piniella sent a message to the New York Yankees by bringing pitcher Frankie Rodriguez in as a pinch-runner in the ninth inning. Andy Pettitte sent his own message to Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.
One day after a fight-marred victory, the Yankees got three-hit pitching from Pettitte for seven innings and beat Seattle and rookie Freddy Garcia 1-0 Saturday night.
"He obviously could run," New York manager Joe Torre said of Seattle manager Piniella's ninth-inning move to Rodriguez after Jay Buhner led off the ninth with a double. "I was just glad he didn't get a chance to cross home plate."
Said a grinning Piniella, when asked about his decision to use Rodriguez: "He's an athlete."
It was the first 1-0 decision in 17 games at Safeco Field, which became the Mariners' home ballpark July 15. The retractable roof was closed just before the game started because of the threat of rain.
Both teams played a businesslike game without a trace of tempers, one night after Rodriguez and Girardi squared off at home plate in the ninth, triggering a bench-clearing fight in the Yankees' 11-8 win.
Pettitte (9-8) went over .500 for the first time since May 28, allowing only a double by Edgar Martinez in the second inning, a double by Buhner in the fifth and a single by Russ Davis in the seventh.
Pettitte said Friday night's fight cleared all the tension from the air.
"Once you go out and start brawling, it's a done deal I think," he said. "It was a shame it had to happen the way it did last night. But it was done."
In his previous start Monday night, Pettitte went eight innings and gave up one earned run in a 3-1 win over Toronto.
Garcia (11-7), coming off a combined shutout against Tampa Bay in his previous start, didn't allow a baserunner until the fifth and pitched a three-hitter for his first career complete game.
After striking out Bernie Williams in the fifth, one of his three strikeouts of the Yankees' cleanup hitter, Garcia walked Tino Martinez. He then surrendered a double to right to Chili Davis that sent Martinez to third before intentionally walking Ricky Ledee.
The Yankees were prepared to unload Pettitte, 27, before last Saturday's trading deadline because of his lack of aggressiveness, but Steinbrenner decided to keep him.
"Maybe it was in the back of my head early," Pettitte said. "I think you all can tell how easy it is for me to get out of sync and start overthrowing. I had great control and great command tonight."
Davis said he's seen a different Pettitte in his last two strts.
"He's got guys swinging at pitches now that they weren't swinging at earlier," Davis said. "That's the old Andy Pettitte I know. It's just my opinion, but all the trading stuff is all over with now and he can just go out and relax and pitch."
In two starts this week, Pettitte is 2-0, allowing one run in 15 innings. He had four strikeouts and a season-high six walks Saturday night.
Garcia matched his career high with 10 strikeouts and issued three walks, one intentionally.
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