Andy Pettitte got a bunch of hugs from appreciative teammates, and a ball and a big grin from Mariano Rivera. Then his former pitching coach and Yankees great Ron Guidry called with congratulations.
This was no ordinary victory.
Pettitte threw 7 1/3 sharp innings to become the third player to earn 200 wins with New York, beating his hometown Houston Astros, 4-3, last night.
"It's special," he said. "There's not a lot of guys that have won that many games as a Yankee, so it's a good thing."
Francisco Cervelli hit a two-out, two-run single in New York's three-run first inning, and Mark Teixeira added an RBI single in the fifth, also with two outs.
Pettitte (8-1) allowed two earned runs and four hits in his first start against his former team, improving to 3-0 with a 2.10 ERA in his last four games. He struck out four after recording a season-high 10 Ks in his previous outing last Saturday at Toronto.
"He just really buckled down and started making pitch after pitch after pitch," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
Pettitte, a Louisiana native who lives in the Houston suburb of Deer Park, played for the Astros from 2004-06, going 37-26 with a 3.38 ERA.
"It's like facing an older brother in Wiffle Ball," Berkman said. "You're torn because you want to do well, but you don't want to hurt him. But then he puts his glove over his face and it's like facing Darth Vader."
Tommy Manzella hit a two-run double in the second for Houston, which had won three straight and eight of 10. Brett Myers (4-4) allowed four runs and five hits in seven innings.
Missing Alex Rodriguez, the Yankees kicked off a nine-game homestand with their sixth consecutive win at their second-year ballpark and fourth win in five games overall. Rodriguez is day-to-day after an MRI exam revealed tendinitis in his right hip flexor.
"To me, it's my groin. It's all pretty connected there," said Rodriguez, who missed the beginning of last season after hip surgery. "But I feel pretty good and again, the most important part, the MRI came out negative and we feel good about that."
Pettitte also reached 3,000 career innings when he retired the first two batters of the game, joining the Phillies' Jamie Moyer as the only active pitchers to reach the mark. Whitey Ford and Red Ruffing are the only other pitchers to reach 200 wins with the Yankees, and Pettitte snapped a tie with Ford for 58th on the career list with win No. 237 for good measure.
"I just feel very fortunate, very blessed to have been able to play in this organization," said Pettitte, who turns 38 on Tuesday.
Rivera worked a perfect ninth for his 15th save in 16 chances.
In other interleague games:
* At Chicago, Alex Rios and A.J. Pierzynski each had four hits and homered to back a strong start by Jake Peavy, and the White Sox won their third straight, beating the crosstown Cubs, 10-5.
* At Baltimore, knuckleballer R.A. Dickey baffled the Orioles for seven innings, Chris Carter hit his first major league homer, and the New York Mets coasted to a 5-1 victory. Dickey (4-0) had a career-high eight strikeouts to win his fourth straight start.
* At Detroit, Brennan Boesch hit a solo shot in a three-run fourth inning and Ramon Santiago had a two-run homer in a three-run sixth, lifting the Tigers to a 6-2 win over Pittsburgh.
* At Cleveland, Austin Kearns drove in four runs with two homers against his former team as the Indians beat the Washington Nationals, 7-2.
* At St. Petersburg, Fla., Anibal Sanchez pitched seven solid innings and Gaby Sanchez homered twice and drove in a career-high six runs, leading the Florida Marlins to a 14-9 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in the opener of the Citrus Series.
* At Minneapolis, Francisco Liriano struck out a season-high 11 batters to edge Tim Hudson in a dazzling pitchers' duel as the Minnesota Twins beat the Atlanta Braves, 2-1.
In Braves news, outfielder Nate McLouth was placed on the 15-day DL with a head injury.
* At Milwaukee, Corey Hart hit his NL-leading 17th home run, Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun and Casey McGehee also went deep and the Brewers beat the Texas Rangers, 6-2.
* At Cincinnati, Yuniesky Betancourt completed his big game with a run-scoring single in the 11th inning, sending Kansas City to a 6-5 win over the Reds.
In Reds news, righthander Homer Bailey has a sore pitching shoulder, a setback in his plans to return quickly from the DL.
* At San Francisco, Pat Burrell hit a go-ahead two-run homer in his Giants home debut back in his native Bay Area, helping Tim Lincecum end a four-start winless streak in a 6-2 win over the Oakland A's.
In a NL game:
* At Phoenix, Brendan Ryan hit a three-run homer to help the St. Louis Cardinals to a 5-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
* Barry Bonds won a big legal victory that could put his long-delayed perjury trial back on track. A divided three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that prosecutors may not present positive urine samples and other vital evidence that the government says shows that the slugger knowingly used steroids.