The Yankees held a 50-game pregame ceremony and retired the No. 42 of Rivera, who announced during spring training that this will be his final season. Pettitte said Friday he also is leaving, and he started off with five hitless innings in what likely was his final Yankee Stadium start.
But Ehire Adrianza tied the score in the sixth with his first career home run. Leaving to standing ovations and a curtain call after Pedro Sandoval’s leadoff double in the eighth, Pettitte (10-11) watched Tony Abreu hit a go-ahead double off David Robertson.
In danger of missing the playoffs for just the second time in 19 years, the Yankees dropped four back of Cleveland for the second AL wild card with six games left. New York hosts wild-card-leading Tampa Bay for three games, then closes at Houston.
In danger of finishing with a losing record for the first time in his 19-year career, Pettitte will make his final start against his hometown Astros.
On a sun-splashed afternoon and before a sellout crowd of 49,197, the Yankees honored Rivera by bringing back several of the players who helped them win five World Series titles from 1996-2009 — including Jorge Posada, Bernie Williams, David Cone, Paul O’Neill and Tino Martinez.
Pettitte initially retired after the 2010 season, sat out one year and then returned.
And for much of the afternoon, Pettitte seemed on track for a vintage performance. The 41-year-old left-hander, a 255-game winner, was backed by Mark Reynolds’ third-inning homer and didn’t allow a baserunner until Sandoval’s two-out walk in the fifth.
When Sandoval doubled to left in the eighth for the Giants’ second hit, Pettitte slammed his glove into his thigh in frustration when he saw manager Joe Girardi bounce out of the dugout.
He left to a sustained ovation, waving his cap to all parts of the stadium, and came out for another wave after a boisterous chant of “An-dy Pett-itte!”
While Rivera has saved 72 of Pettitte’s wins, the most for any tandem in major-league history, Girardi called on the 13-time All-Star after Abreu’s double.
Adrianza broke a bat striking out, and Angel Pagan hit a sinking liner to center field that Curtis Granderson snared with a tumbling catch.
Sergio Romo pitched a hitless ninth for his 36th save in 41 chances. In a sign of how banged up the Yankees are, they sent 22-year-old rookie J.R. Murphy to the plate, and Romo struck him out to end the game.
NOTES: The Giants went through fielding practice before the game. Manager Bruce Bochy said he’s determined to have the Giants play out the season at the highest level possible. “It’s about pride,” he said. ... San Francisco split six straight games in the Big Apple after taking two of three against the New York Mets.