Rapid Reaction: Yankees 3, Mariners 1

SEATTLE -- Big day for the Pettitte family of Deer Park, Texas. Dad Andy wins an important game and son Josh gets drafted by the Yankees in the 37th round.

What it means: That even with King Felix looming in tomorrow's series finale, the Yankees can do no worse than split this four-game series. And with the Red Sox losing today, the Yankees are once again one game back in the AL East.

Milestone victory: Pettitte won the 250th game of his career, a milestone reached by 46 other major leaguers, 31 of whom are in the Hall of Fame. Three others -- Greg Maddux, Randy Johnson and Tom Glavine -- will be and one other, Jack Morris, probably should have been already. So Pettitte's in pretty good company. Plus, beating the Mariners has to be sweet for Pettitte, since they are the only team to hold a winning record over him -- 13-12 now -- in his 18-year career. Pettitte worked 7 1/3 innings, allowed just three hits and one run, walked none and struck out six, and left to a well-deserved standing ovation from the Safeco Field crowd.

Vintage performance: Mariano Rivera allowed a hit and a walk but struck out three in the ninth to save his 22nd game in 23 chances.

First blood: The Yankees jumped out on top thanks to a Mark Teixeira double pulled just inside the LF line with two out in the first, followed by Robbie Cano's line single to right. It was only the third hit for Cano in 22 at-bats (.136), a cold spell hat has seen his BA plunge to .276.

Can't assume: The Yankees and Pettitte might have escaped the fourth inning without allowing a run if Jayson Nix had been able to turn a double play on Kendrys Morales' grounder up the middle. But Nix bobbled the ball and couldn't get the force at second and even though he got the out at first, the misplay moved a runner to third, where he scored on Michael Morse's sacrifice fly to center.

Ounce of redemption: Nix atoned for his misplay in the top of the fifth when his single drove in Ichiro Suzuki from third, giving the Yankees a 2-1 lead. It was Nix' 12th hit in his previous 37 at-bats (.324). Then he added to it with an RBI single in the seventh, scoring Brett Gardner (second double of the game) to make it 3-1.

Getting well?: Vernon Wells came into the game with just one hit in his last 25 at-bats, but collected two singles today, his first multi-hit game since May 13, when he was batting .299.

What's next: David Phelps (4-3, 4.15) gets the ball for the series finale, and the unenviable task of facing RHP "King" Felix Hernandez (7-4, 2.58). First pitch is at 4:10 p.m.