The Yankees bounced back from Monday's series-opening loss to beat the D'Backs, 9-3, last night. Veteran left-hander Andy Pettitte was able to pitch his club back into the win column with seven innings of two-run ball along with seven strikeouts and two walks.
"Fortunately we won this game," Pettitte said. "Obviously when you give up a hit to the pitcher and we had a 2-0 lead, again we scored runs late, it was a tough game. He (Dan Haren) threw the ball well and fortunately we got a win."
Joba Chamberlain threw a scoreless inning of relief and David Robertson gave up a run on two hits in the ninth. Alex Rodriguez homered and finished with three runs batted in, while Derek Jeter and Nick Swisher both scored twice for the American League East-leading Yankees, who put the game away with six runs in the eighth inning and won for the third time in four tries. They are currently 1 1/2 games ahead of Tampa Bay and Boston in the division standings and own the best record in baseball at 44-27.
A-Rod is now eight homers shy of becoming the seventh player with 600 career home runs. Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714), Willie Mays (660), Ken Griffey Jr. (630) and Sammy Sosa (609) are the current members of the 600-homer club.
Javier Vazquez will handle pitching duties for the Bronx Bombers tonight and will try to get back into the win column after having a personal three-game winning streak halted in a 4-0 loss versus the Mets last Friday at Yankee Stadium. Vazquez was sharp through seven innings, allowing just one run and three hits in seven innings for the tough-luck loss.
The right-hander is 6-6 with a 5.01 ERA in 13 games (12 starts) this season and will make his 15th career start against Arizona. Vazquez, who made 33 starts for the D'Backs back in 2005, is 5-3 with a 3.74 ERA over 14 outings in this series.
Arizona could use a big game from Dontrelle Willis tonight after losing for the sixth time in eight tries last night. Willis is 1-0 with a 4.20 earned run average in three starts with his new team, but has recorded consecutive no- decisions, including last Friday's 7-5 loss at Detroit.
Willis, who was acquired from the Tigers earlier this month, was roughed up for five runs and five hits in five innings with four K's and just as many walks. The left-hander, who helped the Florida Marlins defeat the Yankees in the 2003 World Series, hasn't faced New York since June 25, 2006. In the 2-1 loss at Yankee Stadium, Willis allowed two runs and seven hits in eight innings of work. He also fanned six batters and walked three.
The Diamondbacks were hoping staff ace Haren would be able to pitch them past the Yanks last night, but the righty gave up three runs and six hits in seven innings for the loss. Esmerling Vasquez did no better by yielding five runs with no outs in the eighth inning.
"I came out and my stuff was just alright, made that one bad pitch trying to go inside, lifted it up a little over the plate, and he just got enough of it," Haren said. "It's a very good lineup obviously, so any mistake you make they will probably make you pay, besides that I kept the ball down for the most part, made my pitches and pitched ahead in the count for the most part."
Haren tried to help himself by going 2-for-2 at the plate and driving in a pair of runs for Arizona, which got two hits and an RBI from Kelly Johnson. Justin Upton ended with two hits and has hit safely in eight of his last 11 games, batting .349 over that stretch (15-for-43).
The Yankees are 8-3 all-time in regular season games with Arizona and swept a three-game series in the Bronx the last time these two clubs squared off in 2007. The Yankees outscored the D'Backs, 18-4, in those games. Arizona, of course, beat New York in seven games to win the 2001 World Series.
New York is 141-101 in interleague play, while the D'Backs are 88-110.