Andy Pettitte retired his first 20 batters before a lamentable seventh-inning sequence spoiled both his perfect game and no-hit bid, and the visiting New York Yankees beat the Baltimore Orioles, 5-1, last night.
Pettitte (12-6) was poised to finish the seventh without allowing a baserunner, but former Oriole Jerry Hairston Jr. let a two-out grounder by Adam Jones slip through his legs for an error. Hairston was playing in place of third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who was given the night off.
Nick Markakis followed with an opposite-field single inside the third-base line, drawing further groans from a crowd of 25,063 filled with Yankees fans.
After Melvin Mora led off the eighth with a home run, Pettitte completed his masterful effort by getting three straight outs.
"After the fifth inning, I kind of started thinking about it a little bit. It was cool," Pettitte said. "You can't not with the fans; it seemed almost like we were at home, the fans were getting into it so much."
Hairston felt terrible, but Pettitte eased his pain by giving him a hug in the clubhouse.
"He was kind of funny," Hairston said. "He was like, 'You took the pressure off me.' He goes, 'If I haven't thrown a no-hitter by now, then I'm not going to do it.' He was probably the best."
The 37-year-old Pettitte moved into sole possession of third place on the Yankees' career wins list. He broke a tie with Lefty Gomez with his 190th victory with New York, a number bested by only Hall of Famers Whitey Ford (236) and Red Ruffing (231).
In other games:
* At Arlington, Texas, Adam Lind and Rod Barajas each homered twice, with Lind's first career grand slam helping power Toronto to a big early lead before the Blue Jays held on for a 18-10 victory over the Rangers. Lind had a career-high eight RBI.
* At Detroit, Carlos Pena hit his AL-best 38th homer and drove in four runs to help the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Tigers, 11-7, for a split of their four-game series.
* At Minneapolis, home runs by Joe Mauer and Jason Kubel in the third inning lifted Minnesota over the Chicago White Sox, 4-1.
* At Seattle, Vladimir Guerrero hit two homers and drove in four runs, Juan Rivera added a three-run homer and the Los Angeles Angels routed the Mariners, 10-0. Joe Saunders (11-7) held Seattle to three hits in seven innings.
* Rangers catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia has been shut down again after experiencing more numbness in his right arm. He might need surgery.
* Yankees pitcher Ian Kennedy will throw batting practice tomorrow for the first time since surgery May 12 to remove an aneurysm from beneath his right biceps.
* The Tigers plan to recall righthander Jeremy Bonderman (blood clot in his right shoulder) from an injury rehab assignment.
* The Mariners said outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, who has missed eight games with tightness in his calf, and third baseman Adrian Beltre (bruised testicle) are due to return to the lineup tonight. Ken Griffey Jr. remains sidelined with swelling in his knee.
* Kansas City extended general manager Dayton Moore's contract through 2014. *