Results tagged ‘ Andy Pettitte ’
The Yankees’ disabled list continued to grow Friday night, adding Andy Pettitte, who came out of Thursday night’s game against the Mariners because of a tight left trapezius muscle. Pettitte said he felt better Friday but understood that he needed more time to get better, which frankly the Yankees do not have right now.
Pettitte’s next scheduled start would have been Tuesday night in Baltimore. He told general manager Brian Cashman that he could long-toss on his regular bullpen day and still be able to make the starting assignment. Pettitte reneged when it was explained to him that the Yankees could not afford to dig into the bullpen if he tightened up early in that game. Cashman pointed out that they lost CC Sabathia early in a rain-delayed game in Denver, had a doubleheader at Cleveland earlier in the week and an abbreviated start Wednesday night from Phil Hughes (2/3 innings).
“I’m frustrated, but it makes sense,” Pettitte said. “I hope we can get it cleared up and I can get back out there. I don’t see why it should be more than that [15 days]. I had high expectations of being able to pitch a full season, but I’ll have to deal with it.”
The Yankees will recall lefthander Vidal Nuno from Triple A Scranton to take Pettitte’s spot in the rotation. Nuno earned his first major-league victory in the second game of the doubleheader Monday with five scoreless, three-hit innings at Progressive Field.
Chris Stewart’s groin injury is not as serious as it might have been. An MRI on the catcher was negative. Stewart is still in some pain, but he is not a candidate for the Yankees’ large disabled list where another catcher, Francisco Cervelli, is among those on the mend. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that Stewart probably won’t play in the three-game series against the Blue Jays but could catch in an emergency.
Because of that, the Yankees do not plan to add another catcher for this weekend’s series as a backup to Austin Romine. That role for the time being will be filled by utility infielder Alberto Gonzalez, whose primary position is shortstop but who has also already pitched for the Yankees for the first time in his seven-season career. Gonzalez retired the only batter he faced Wednesday night in the Yankees’ 12-2 loss to the Mariners, so his ERA is 0.00.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Tuesday marked only the fourth time since the Cy Young Award was instituted by the Baseball Writers’ Association in 1956 that seven former winners started on the same day. CC Sabathia was among them, along with Felix Hernandez, Clayton Kershaw, R.A. Dickey, Bartolo Colon, Jake Peavy and Barry Zito). It also occurred April 21, 1974 (Vida Blue, Steve Carlton, Mike Cuellar, Bob Gibson, Jim Palmer, Jim Perry and Tom Seaver) and on both April 5 and April 10, 1993 with the same pitchers (Roger Clemens, Doug Drabek, Dwight Gooden, Orel Hershiser, Greg Maddux, Rick Sutcliffe and Bob Welch).
Patrick Vieira, former World Cup-winning soccer star and current head of the Elite Development Squad for Manchester City Football Club, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Vieira played on five World Cup-winning teams and nine league champions during his career. He made 107 appearances for the French national team, including winning performances at the 1998 FIFA World Cup and 2000 UEFA European Championship. His time as a Manchester City player, which began in January 2010, concluded with an FA Cup Final victory in May 2011, marking the club’s first major trophy in 35 years.
Since retiring from the game in the summer of 2011, Vieira has worked as a Football Development Executive for Manchester City, traveling extensively in an ambassadorial role for the club and its academy. He has spent the last year developing his understanding of the business side of football and working on his UEFA coaching credentials.
Manchester City will make it first appearance at the Stadium in a 5:30 p.m. match Saturday, May 25, against Premier League rival Chelsea FC.
When the manager comes to the mound during an inning with the pitching coach and a trainer, it is never a good sign for a pitcher. That is what happened in the fifth inning Thursday night when Joe Girardi, Larry Rothschild and Mark Littlefield didn’t like what they saw after Andy Pettitte struck out the first two batters.
Video replays after the strikeout of Kyle Seager showed Pettitte grimacing. Girardi did not want to take chances with his 40-year-old lefthander and removed him after a brief conference. Shawn Kelley got all the time he needed to warm up and finishing the inning by striking out Kendrys Morales. The diagnosis on Pettitte was a tight left trapezius, a muscle that spans the neck and shoulder.
Pettitte said the area was tight all game but stiffened to the point that he could get no extension after the fourth inning. Between innings, he got a massage from Littlefield and felt better, but the tightness came back on the first pitch he threw that inning to Jason Bay.
“It’s frustrating,” Pettitte said. “I wanted to give us some length after we got a short start [Phil Hughes] Wednesday night. I hope it’s just a spasm that settles down.”
It was something of an uneven outing for Pettitte, who was touched for two runs and four hits with three walks, five strikeouts and a wild pitch in 4 2/3 innings. By leaving the game with the score 2-1 Mariners, Pettitte was not in position to have a chance for his 250th career victory. The Mariners hung on for a 3-2 victory to take the series, 2 games to 1. The Yankees were outscored, 18-8, by the second worst offense in the American League and came out of the series hobbling.
“I didn’t feel like I was real sharp,” Pettitte said. “It has been a real battle the past four starts.”
It was a rough night all around for the Yankees’ battery. Catcher Chris Stewart tweaked a groin running the bases in the seventh inning and was replaced by Austin Romine. Stew underwent an MRI after the game. The Yankees were hopeful about the result because Stewart had told Girardi he didn’t hear a pop. Keep your fingers crossed. With Francisco Cervelli already on the disabled list, the Yanks are running out of catchers.
Pettitte’s counterpart, Mariners starter Hector Noesi, also made an early exit and did not qualify for a winning decision. Noesi, who was an emergency starter for Aaron Harang (back spasms) and on a moderated pitch count (79), was replaced by Oliver Perez after Stewart singled David Adams, who was hit by a pitch leading off the fifth, to third base with one out. Perez got out of the jam with a strikeout of Brett Gardner and an infield pop by Jayson Nix.
Noesi, who was 2-12 with a 5.82 ERA for the Mariners last year, has not won a game in more than a year. The righthander has lost nine straight decisions since his most recent victory May 6, 2012, 5-2, over the Twins. What proved the deciding run was a home run to center off Kelley by Michael Morse, who had a damaging series (7-for-11, 4 runs, 1 double, 2 home runs, 2 RBI).
Despite the homer by Morse, Kelley pitched well with five more strikeouts in two innings. He has struck out 12 of the past 17 batters he has faced and 30 overall in 17 1/3 innings. Among the other few positives for the Yankees was Ichiro Suzuki ended a 0-for-22 slump with a seventh-inning single and Curtis Granderson getting three hits and stealing a base.
The Yankees provided some drama in the ninth when Brett Gardner singled with one out off Mariners closer Tom Wilhelmsen (11th save) and stole second and third. Girardi could not use Travis Hafner, still bothered by left shoulder tendinitis, as a pinch hitter so Jayson Nix hit for himself and struck out. Robinson Cano had the last crack and grounded out.
The door keeps revolving in the Yankees’ clubhouse. Pitcher Dellin Betances was the latest arrival from Triple A Scranton for Thursday night’s series finale against the Mariners. The righthander was 3-2 with a 5.40 ERA in six starts and two relief appearances totaling 28 1/3 innings.
Heading back to Scranton was pitcher Brett Marshall, who made his major-league debut in Wednesday night’s 12-2 loss to Seattle. The righthander threw 108 pitches and allowed five earned runs, nine hits and five walks in 5 2/3 innings but was praised by manager Joe Girardi for saving the bullpen. Marshall deserves credit for taking one for the team in taking punishment to keep the relief corps from having to toil in a lopsided loss.
Betances was the choice for promotion because Marshall would not be available to pitch for at least four days. Adam Warren pitched four innings only three days ago, so the Yankees need a middle-innings reliever who can give them some length. Girardi said that Betances was the most stretched-out of the pitchers at Scranton.
Marshall was one of five players to make their major-league debuts for the Yankees in the first 40 games. The others were pitchers Preston Claiborne and Vidal Nuno and infielders David Adams and Corban Joseph. The Elias Sports Bureau points out that the previous time as many as five players made their big-league debuts with the Yankees within the club’s first 40 games was in 1995 – pitchers Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, Brian Boehringer and Jeff Patterson and shortstop Derek Jeter.
Adams, who also played in his first major-league game Wednesday night on his 26th birthday, was only the fourth player in 95 seasons to get a hit in his first game on his birthday. The others were the Cleveland Indians’ Dave Clark Sept. 3, 1986 at Toronto, the Atlanta Braves’ Bruce Benedict Aug. 18, 1978 at St. Louis and the Washington Senators’ Sept. 13, 1939 in the second game of a doubleheader at Chicago, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
Another familiar face Thursday night was that of Mariners starter Hector Noesi, who pitched for the Yankees in 2011 and was traded with catcher Jesus Montero to Seattle for pitcher Michael Pineda, who has yet to pitch for the Yankees. Montero was Noesi’s catcher Thursday night.
The Blue Jays come to Yankee Stadium Friday night to open a three-game series. Probable starting pitchers: Hiroki Kuroda (5-2, 2.31) vs. Mark Buehrle (1-2, 6.19) at 7:05 p.m. Friday on Channel 9, David Phelps (1-2, 4.33) vs. Brandon Morrow (1-2, 4.69) at 1:05 p.m. Saturday on YES and CC Sabathia (4-3, 3.19) vs. R.A. Dickey (3-5, 4.83) at 1:05 p.m. on YES. All games are on WCBS Radio (880 AM).
Sunday’s matchup will mark the third time this season that Sabathia, the 2007 American League Cy Young Award winner, will be paired against a fellow recipient of that honor. The other games were April 7 against the Tigers’ Justin Verlander (2011), a 7-0 Yankees victory at Detroit, and May 14 (Tuesday night) against the Mariners’ Felix Hernandez (2010), a 4-3 Yanks victory at the Stadium. CC got the victory over Detroit and a no-decision against Seattle. Dickey was the 2012 National League Cy Young Award winner with the Mets and was traded to the Blue Jays.
You can turn the panic button off regarding Andy Pettitte. Perhaps a dose of Kansas City was all the lefthander needed.
Pettitte has had a lot of success against the Royals over the years, although it is only fair to point out that Kansas City had been a downtrodden franchise for much of that time. This is a different Royals team this season with Kansas City threatening to be a contender in the American League Central. Nevertheless, they looked like the same old Royals against Pettitte, who bounced back from two awful games to post a 3-2 victory, his first winning decision in four starts since April 19.
That improved Pettitte’s career mark against the Royals to 15-3 with a 3.40 ERA, including 9-2 with a 3.11 ERA at Kauffman Stadium.
The cut fastball that had abandoned Pettitte in his recent starts made a triumphant return as Andy pitched seven strong innings against a much meatier lineup than the Royals had in the past. He gave up five hits, including Billy Butler’s fourth home run, walked only one batter and struck out eight.
Pettitte pitched well in situations, a signature strength of his. With runners on first and second and one out in the second, Andy got two soft groundouts to avoid damage. He gave up an infield single to Eliot Johnson leading off the third. Johnson was able to steal second because of a ball in the dirt. It proved a big steal. He came around to score on two groundouts. But that and Butler’s bomb were all that marred the sort of effort we have come to expect from Pettitte but what had been missing of late.
Pettitte’s ERA over his past three starts was 7.04 and over his past two 9.64. Ouch! Even worse was his statement after a dismal game against the Athletics that his cut fastball was nonexistent. When a 40-year-old pitcher makes such an admission, there is cause for serious concern. But to his credit, Pettitte kept working between starts to find the lost pitch, which he rediscovered to help the Yankees win their fourth straight game and maintain first-place standing in the AL East.
The bullpen came through again with shining colors. David Robertson struck out the side in the eighth (the Royals have struck out 21 times in 17 innings in this series), and Mariano Rivera withstood a two-double to make it 14-for-14 in save situations this season. Vernon Wells, whose two-run home run in the fifth had given the Yankees the lead, ran down Mike Moustakas’ drive to left-center for the final out.
As much a patsy as the Royals have been for Pettitte so have the Yankees been a nemesis for James Shields, who had one of his better games against them but was a loser for the 15th time in 22 career decisions. The righthander was hurt not only by Wells but also by a throwing error by Moustakas, his third baseman, that allowed Chris Nelson, who doubled, to score with two out in the third inning.
Shields also hurt himself by hitting Chris Stewart with a 1-2 pitch to begin the fifth inning. Stew scored on Wells’ home run. Jayson Nix entered the game with two hits, both home runs, in four career at-bats against Shields and added two more hits, a double and a single. Nix has done very well spelling Eduardo Nunez at shortstop on this trip.
The best news, naturally, was the return to form of Pettitte, whose 249th career victory tied him with Hall of Famer Vic Willis for 45th place on the all-time list. Next up in 44th place is another Hall of Famer, Bob Gibson, at 251.
Have a question for Andy Pettitte? As an exclusive Yankees Universe membership benefit, you have the opportunity to ask a question to Andy Pettitte. The Yankees will randomly select questions and conduct an interview with Pettitte. Answers will be posted on the members-only section of yankees.com the week of May 27. Please submit your question by 5 p.m. Tuesday, May 14.
From the beginning Sunday, it was an uneasy outing for Andy Pettitte against the Athletics in the finale of the homestand. The lefthander had trouble at the beginning of nearly every inning. He let the leadoff hitter reach base in the first four innings. In the fifth, the one inning in which he got the leadoff hitter out, Pettitte ended up allowing two runs on Yoenis Cespedes’ fifth home run of the season.
That was one of two long balls yielded by Pettitte. The other was a solo shot by designated hitter Luke Montz leading off the third. Montz had doubled off Pettitte leading off the second. Pettitte pitched out of the stretch almost continually during his 100-pitch outing in which he gave up four runs (three earned), five hits, four walks and hit a batter as his ERA climbed to 4.06.
“The issue is everything,” Pettitte said after the Yanks’ 5-4 loss. “It was just a battle out there. I had no command of my fastball. My release point is floating, and my cutter is nonexistent right now.”
The first run off Pettitte was not earned due to a wild throw to first base by Robinson Cano, the second baseman’s first error of the season. Cano got the run right back in the bottom of the third by following a two-out double by Brett Gardner with a single to center.
Pettitte’s early departure created the opportunity for recent Triple A call-up Preston Claiborne to make his major-league debut. Claiborne was impressive his first time out with a perfect sixth and seventh before giving way to Boone Logan, who ended up the loser for allowing a solo home run to Josh Donaldson in the eighth that unlocked a 4-4 score.
“Those were two important innings,” Yankee manager Joe Girardi said of Claiborne’s work.
The Yankees suffered another injury as shortstop Eduardo Nunez was removed from the game in the fifth inning because of an irritated left ribcage. Results of an MRI were negative. The Yanks hope this will not be an extended injury. They are headed for an inter-league series at Denver where they could be short-handed since pitchers must hit in those games. Jayson Nix will play shortstop and newly-acquired Chris Nelson third base. Nix had been taking ground balls at first base as part of his utility role but will be needed to play regularly with Nunez sidelined.
The Yankees got Pettitte off the hook with three runs in the sixth as A’s lefthander Jerry Blevins faltered in relief of starter Dan Straily against two left-handed hitters. Blevins hung a 1-2 curve to Ichiro Suzuki, who doubled into the right-field corner to drive in one run. After Nix struck out for the second out, Lyle Overbay, who had a strong homestand, won an eight-pitch battle and singled to center to knock home the tying runs.
Overbay, who is batting .368 in a five-game hitting streak with a triple, two homers and six RBI in 19 at-bats, had the Yankee Stadium crowd of 38,134 on its feet again in the eighth when he flied out to the warning track in right-center with two runners aboard for the third out. Gardner’s two-out single in the ninth off A’s closer Grant Balfour gave Cano another at-bat, but after a wild pitch Cano was intentionally walked before Vernon Wells ended the game by striking out.
Another good relief effort came from Shawn Kelley in the ninth after Josh Reddick doubled off Logan to start the inning. Kelley got the next three batters, two of them on strikeouts. Reddick’s hit was significant, by the way.
Reddick did not start Sunday, which was no surprise based on several factors. For one, Reddick bats left-handed, and the Yankees’ starting pitcher was the left-handed Pettitte (oddly, they have never faced each other). For two, Reddick is off to an awful start (.148 in 88 at-bats). For three, he had been worthless at Yankee Stadium. Reddick, a late-inning defensive replacement in right field, had the longest hitless streak of any batter in the history of the current Stadium covering 33 at-bats (22 with the A’s and 11 with the Red Sox), which ended with that double.
With a 2-for-3 game, Suzuki continued his punishment of Oakland pitching. A .328 hitter in 933 career at-bats against the A’s, Ichiro’s 306 hits are the most by an opposing player against the franchise since it moved to the Bay Area from Kansas City 45 years ago.
The Astros, appearing at Yankee Stadium as an American League team for the first time, had a rude welcome Monday night for former teammate Andy Pettitte. Houston stunned the crowd with a three-run rally in the first inning after two were out.
Pettitte spent three seasons (2004-06) with the Astros before returning to the Yankees in 2007. In his only previous start against Houston June 11, 2010, Pettitte earned his 200th career victory. Recent call-up Austin Romine got his first start of the season behind the plate for Pettitte.
The noise began off Pettitte with a two-out single to center by Brandon Laird, who got into 25 games for the Yankees in 2011, the year that Pettitte retired from the game only to come back to the Yankees the following season. Chris Carter singled sharply to left, which brought up Pettitte nemesis Carlos Pena.
You would think that a free-swinging, left-handed batter like Pena would be a pigeon against the left-handed Pettitte. Not so. Pena took a .326 batting average with six home runs in 43 career at-bats against Pettitte into the first-inning plate appearance and improved on it with a line single to right for Houston’s first run.
Andy continued to struggle as he walked Ronny Cedeno on four pitches, which loaded the bases. Carlos Corporan, the Houston catcher, drove in two more runs with a double to right. Even the third out of the inning, a liner to shortstop by Matt Dominguez, was well-struck. Pettitte got off to a shaky start in the second when he hit Robbie Grossman with a pitch, but that was rectified when Jose Altuve grounded into a double play.
Pena struck again in the third with two out as he tripled off the center-field wall. It was his third career triple in 45 at-bats off Pettitte and raised his career average against him to .356. Pena was stranded, however, as Cedeno flied out to left to end the inning.
If most of these Astros names sound unfamiliar, you are not alone. Houston has the lowest payroll in the league and entered the game with a 7-18 record, the worst in the AL. The Astros did not look that bad against Pettitte. They scored two more two-out runs in the fourth inning on successive, RBI doubles by Altuve and Brandon Barnes. Pettitte had not allowed more than three runs in any of his previous four starts.
He departed in the fifth after giving up a one-out double to Cedeno on a ball that hit the third base bag, hopped over Jayson Nix and down the left field line. Both runners Pettitte left on base upon his departure ended up scoring on a wild pitch by Adam Warren and a two-run homer by Corporan, who had four of the Astros’ 17 hits in their 9-1 victory.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever seen him without his slider,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “That’s a swing-and-miss pitch for him, but it wasn’t there for him.”
“Not to give us a chance to win this game makes me sick to my stomach,” Pettitte said.
Pettitte’s ERA grew from 2.22 to 3.86. It was that kind of night for Andy.
There was good news and bad news about the Yankees’ player transactions before Saturday’s game against the Blue Jays. The bad news was that catcher Francisco Cervelli was placed on the 15-day disabled list because of a broken right hand and will be sideline for six weeks. The good news was that although pitcher Ivan Nova was also assigned to the DL his injury (inflammation of the right triceps) is not as serious as had been feared, a possible elbow strain.
So there were two new faces in the Yankees clubhouse. Catcher Austin Romine was recalled from Scranton and pitcher Vidal Nuno had his contract purchased from the Triple A affiliate. To create room on the 40-man roster for Nuno, the Yankees transferred Derek Jeter to the 60-day DL. The Captain is not due back for another three months anyway.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi sounded relieved that the injury to Nova was one that should heal in a short period of time. Nova pointed to a spot above the elbow where he felt tightness while pitching in the early innings of Friday night’s 6-4 Yankees victory over Toronto. He mentioned the stiffness to Girardi and pitching coach Larry Rothschild after the second inning. When Nova hit the first batter he faced in the third and allowed a single to the next, Girardi did not hesitate to remove him and have an MRI done to check out the area.
Nova said the area stiffened up only when he threw curves, but that is his chief weapon, so the Yankees were wise to act quickly on his behalf. David Phelps, who had nine strikeouts in four innings of relief Friday night and earned the winning decision, will take Nova’s spot in the rotation for the time being.
Romine, who was assigned uniform No. 53, was not in the starting lineup as Girardi went with Chris Stewart, who had a good game Friday night by drawing two walks and throwing out two base runners. Romine was kept busy before the game, however, by working with Hiroki Kuroda and Andy Pettitte in bullpen sessions.
“I thought when we had him up here in 2011 that he could be a major-league catcher,” Girardi said. “But he hurt his back last year and missed a lot of time, so we felt he would be better served by playing regularly in the minors rather than being a backup here. He will get a chance to show what he can do.”
Romine batted .333 with one home run and four RBI in 14 games and 42 at-bats at Scranton. Nuno’s arrival gives Girardi a second lefthander out of the bullpen to go along with Boone Logan. Nono, who was assigned No. 34, was also off to a good start at Triple A with a 2-0 record and 1.54 ERA. He allowed 13 hits and only two walks with 26 strikeouts in 23 1/3 innings.
Alex Cobb, the impressive righthander who got the best of the Yankees Wednesday night for the Rays, was seven years old when Andy Pettitte broke into the major leagues with the Yankees in 1995. Yet there did not seem much of an age difference in this game.
At 40, Pettitte was to the task against Cobb. Unfortunately, Andy didn’t get much support from his teammates, which made the margin for error so slim. He was kicking himself for getting into trouble in the fifth inning when the Rays ended the scoreless duel with two runs, one of which was not earned.
That was due to an error by right fielder Brennan Boesch, who overran a single by Kelly Johnson that allowed runners to reach second base and third base with none out. Pettitte had put the lead runner on himself when he struck Jose Molina in the foot with a 1-2 cut fastball in the dirt. Andy went to work after that and struck out the next two hitters, but he got too much of the plate with a curve to Ben Zobrist, who lined a double to right-center to score both runners.
Zobrist has been something of a Pettitte killer. The switch hitter is batting .409 with a double and two home runs in 22 career at-bats against Pettitte, who gave up only another run on a leadoff home run by Sean Rodriguez off a first-pitch cutter. Pettitte had good stuff that led to a season-high 10 strikeouts but not enough to avoid absorbing his first loss of the season.
For the second time in three nights, the Yankees managed only two hits off a Tampa Bay starter over eight innings. Cobb came out of the game after giving up his third hit, a one-out single by Brett Gardner in the ninth. Ichiro Suzuki’s single off reliever Fernando Rodney brought the tying run to the plate for the Yankees, but Robinson Cano and Travis Hafner could not get the ball out of the infield as the Yanks suffered their first shutout loss of the year.
There were not too many bright spots for the Yankees despite Pettitte’s work (two earned runs in six innings) that is often sufficient enough for a victory. Sean Kelley supplied two solid innings of relief. Shortstop Eduardo Nunez made two sensational plays to rob Yunel Escobar and Molina of hits and also had one of the Yanks’ four hits.
It turned out to be a .500 trip (3-3) through Toronto and St. Pete, but the trek was considered a disappointment since the Yankees opened the swing with two victories. That they scored merely five runs in three games against the Rays indicates the strength of Tampa Bay’s pitching staff.
One night after they received bad news about Derek Jeter, the Yankees got positive news about Andy Pettitte. The lefthander caused concern when he was pushed back a full turn in the rotation because of back spasms. Pettitte made his first start in 10 days Friday night and looked as if he had not missed a beat.
An efficient, 90-pitch effort carried Pettitte one out into the eighth inning in the Yankees’ 9-3 victory over the Blue Jays. Andy helped make a statement of sorts for the Yankees against the Jays, whom many pre-season prognosticators identified as the favorites to win the American League East this year.
Toronto certainly made a lot of major acquisitions that has revved up Canadian fans. A crowd of 40,028 swelled Rogers Centre Friday night, but Pettitte and his teammates showed Blue Jays followers that the Yankees have no intention of disappearing in the division chase. The Yanks also showed that their acquisitions can get the job done.
The Jays are playing without major off-season pickup Jose Reyes, who is out with a leg injury, but the Yankees do not have their regular shortstop, either. Derek Jeter suffered a setback in his recovery from left ankle surgery and won’t be back in uniform until after the All-Star break at the earliest.
The uplifting performance by Pettitte was an antidote to Thursday night’s 12-inning loss to the Diamondbacks for a Yankees squad that dragged into Ontario in the wee hours. Fortunately, Andy flew ahead and was plenty rested for this start. The Yankees handed him a 2-0 lead in the first inning on an RBI double by Travis Hafner and a run-scoring infield out by Vernon Wells. Pettitte gave up half the lead in the bottom half, but by the time Toronto scored again the Yanks had constructed a seven-run lead.
Pettitte scattered six hits, including a thunderous home run to center field by Jose Bautista (no crime there, he can launch them) with one walk and five strikeouts in improving his record to 2-0 with a 2.01 ERA. Pettitte’s 248th career victory gave him an 88-49 mark (.642) with the Yankees following a team loss. That’s the definition of a stopper.
The Yankees gave him plenty of support, a 13-hit assault against Brandon Morrow and three relievers that featured 10 knocks for extra bases. Hafner homered and doubled. Wells and Lyle Overbay added home runs, Brett Gardner a triple, Francisco Cervelli and Ichiro Suzuki two doubles each and a double by Cano, who had three hits in all. The Yankees also took advantage of an errant throw to the plate by Blue Jays center fielder Colby Rasmus with Wells and Suzuki scoring on the play in the third.
It was a satisfying night for Wells and Overbay, who played significant portions of their career in Toronto and were deluged by boos in their plate appearances. They got the last laughs, however, by slamming homers. Wells spent 12 years north of the border and Overbay five. They teamed to continue the Yankees’ strong run by newcomers along with Hafner.
The Yankees have batted .294 as a team with 23 doubles, one triple and 19 home runs in winning eight of their past 10 games. They lead the AL in home runs with 25. Cano has five homers in the Yankees’ 15 games. He didn’t hit his fifth homer of 2012 until the club’s 43rd game. With a 2-for-3 game, Cervelli raised the batting average of Yankees catchers to .314 in 51 at-bats. A year ago, Yankees catchers ranked 24th of 30 big-league clubs in batting at .220 in 542 at-bats.
Pettitte’s effort was another quality start for the rotation that has pitched to a 2.70 ERA in 66 2/3 innings over this stretch that has pushed the Yanks’ record to 9-6. Meanwhile, the Blue Jays are 7-10, so who is chasing whom?