Freddy Garcia is giving Andy Pettitte all the time he needs.
The veteran starter pitched another solid game as he recorded the win in the Yankees' 6-2 win over the Mariners on Sunday afternoon. Garcia is now 3-3 since taking over in the rotation for the injured Pettitte, out with a fractured left fibula, and has allowed three earned runs or less in six of his seven starts since his return to the rotation.
"He's kept us in every game," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We haven't scored him a lot of runs. And that's what Freddy did last year for us. I'm pleased with what he's doing."
Garcia, who was demoted to the bullpen after struggling earlier this year, battled the conditions on Sunday as much as he did Seattle's lineup. With the sun beating down in the Bronx, Garcia felt the effects, calling it a long day and saying he was tired afterward.
While he only surrendered two runs on five hits in five innings, the veteran harped on his inability to close out innings. In four of his five innings, he allowed the next batter to reach after recording two outs, and both Seattle runs came with two outs. The fourth inning proved to be his only perfect inning, and Garcia was pulled with the Yankees leading 4-2.
"If you're a starter you want to be consistent and when you don't pitch the way you want to pitch you just try to keep the score and wait for them to score," Garcia said. "Try to go out there and do the best you can do. It doesn't matter how many innings you throw. Keep the guys in the game."
As Garcia continues to pitch like he did in 2011, he's continuing to put his struggles from earlier this season behind him. After falling to 0-2 with a 12.51 ERA following a loss to Detroit on April 28, the Yankees banished him to the bullpen. He pitched well in relief before being placed back in the rotation to fill in for Pettitte following the lefty's injury in june.
In each of his seven starts since replacing Pettitte, he's allowed no more than four runs. In his four starts in April, he allowed at least four runs in all of them, with his final two outings lasting a combined 3 1/3 innings and Garcia relinquishing 11 combined runs.
"You got to forget about it," Garcia said of his struggles. "After I pitched four games in April, I didn't do my job and they sent me to my bullpen. I come back and pitch OK and want to feel good about it. Hopefully continue to win more games. If I'm pitching and we hit, I know we're going to win a lot of games."
Garcia secured the 150th victory of his career Satudray and became the first Venezuelan pitcher to do so. Garcia didn't seem too excited about the honor considering that he already has the most career wins by any Venezuelan pitcher.
"For me, it's another win," Garcia said. "Hopefully there are more coming."