OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Andy Pettitte really didn't think he would need salvation on Sunday.
The New York Yankees' 19-game winner felt strong despite pitching on three days' rest. He said his control was outstanding and that he made most of the pitches he wanted to make.
Trouble was, the Oakland Athletics kept hitting them.
It took 5 1-3 innings of outstanding scoreless relief pitching for the Yankees to survive their division series and move on to face Seattle in the AL Championship Series.
"I felt great. I felt like I was making a lot of good pitches," Pettitte said. "I thought I was going to cruise out of there, but it didn't happen. It turned out I was glad to get out of there because (the Athletics) wore me out.
"I thought I was pretty sharp, (but) the bullpen saved me."
It was just over a month ago when George Steinbrenner, tired of his bullpen's second-half struggles, told reliever Jeff Nelson in particular -- and New York's entire bullpen in general -- to "put up or shut up."
Consider the challenge met. New York beat Oakland 7-5 in the decisive Game 5, largely thanks to the strength of its pen.
Four relievers -- including a cameo by Game 3 starter Orlando Hernandez -- held the Athletics' high-powered offense to three hits and no runs after Pettitte was chased.
Both Mike Stanton and Nelson -- two critical cogs in New York's consecutive World Series championship teams -- were in top form when it mattered most.
"In a Game 5, there are no roles," Nelson said. "Me and Mike, we've got to be ready to come out in any inning. You've got to pull out all the stops in a situation like this."
Pettitte, who pitched masterfully in beating the A's in Game 2, got through just 3 2-3 innings Sunday while pitching on three days' rest. The 19-game winner was shaky in every inning, allowing 10 hits and five runs while walking two.
But New York manager Joe Torre was reluctant to go to the 'pen because of its struggles in the season's second half, particularly during a two-week stretch in August when the Yankees' late-season slide began.
In fact, except for three innings late in Oakland's 11-1 victory in Game 4, Torre had used just six pitchers -- starters Roger Clemens, Pettitte and Hernandez along with relievers Stanton, Nelson and closer Mariano Rivera -- in the entire series.
"I don't think the bullpen was ever out of line," Stanton said. "I don't know where all this talk came from about Joe losing confidence in us. I don't think Joe has ever lost confidence in us."
Torre stuck with Pettitte until the fourth inning, when the A's scored two runs. The call came in for Stanton.
After Stanton pitched out of the jam, he retired the side in order in the fifth and got two outs in the sixth before being lifted for Nelson, who struck out Olmedo Saenz to end the inning.
Nelson pitched the seventh before Hernandez, who threw 130 pitches in his Game 3 start Friday, struck out Ben Grieve to start the eighth but gave up a double to Matt Stairs.
Enter Rivera, the Yankees' feared closer who has struggled at times this year. He struck out Terrence Long and then forced three easy fly balls and a foul pop by Eric Chavez that ended it.
"The bullpen just came through in every situation that we needed them," Bernie Williams said. "They've been criticized so much, so it was great to see them do what they did tonight."
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