Pettitte Loses Third Straight for First Time Since 2008
By Howard Goldin
BRONX, NEW YORK, JUNE 27- Andy Pettitte fell short of his attempt to reach several pitching milestones on Wednesday night. The veteran lefthander lost his third straight, for the first time since 2008, and the fourth of his last five decisions.
Pettitte retired the side in order the three of the six innings he pitched. He kept the Rangers scoreless in all but one inning, but sufficient damage was done in the top of the fourth to earn him the loss.
Leonys Martin, who homered twice on the previous night, legged out an infield hit to begin the inning. The single by the Cuban native increased his consecutive game hitting streak to 11. Ian Kinsler followed by drawing a walk. An errant throw by third sacker Jayson Nix allowed Elvis Andrus to reach first and fill the sacks. The first two runs for Texas were scored on a double by Adrian Beltre. Veteran catcher A. J. Pierzynski drove in an additional two runs off Pettitte with a double to deep center.
Pettitte pitched effectively in five of his six frames. Yankee skipper Joe Girardi praised his performance, “He really was pretty good. He made two mistakes to Pierzynski and Beltre.”
Joba Chamberlain replaced Pettitte on the mound in the seventh. By the time two men were retired, Chamberlain had surrendered two runs and four hits. The two runs were driven in by Nelson Cruz’s 20th home run of the season. This is the fifth straight season during which the native of the Dominican Republic has hit at least 20 home runs.
Chamberlain was replaced by rookie Preston Claiborne who prevented any further damage. Chamberlain, who has allowed 9 earned runs in his last 6.1 IP, was jeered vociferously by the disappointed crowd of 38,264 during every step he took until he reached the dugout. Unlike the fans, Chamberlain’s manager has not given up on him, “Somehow we have to find a way to get him going. His stuff is too good.”
Rookie Justin Grimm, who had only five major league appearances in 2012, earned his seventh win of the year despite only hurling 5+innings. He gave up three runs, two scoring after he departed in the sixth , and six hits.
Lyle Overbay accounted for the first Yankees run with a solo homer in the second. Grimm left the game after the first two batters in the sixth, Brett Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki, hit successfully. Both scored after the next two batters, Robinson Cano and Travis Hafner, singled off reliever Robbie Ross.
The final two runs for the Yanks came on a two-run homer by Suzuki in the seventh. The three hits by the hot hitting outfielder in his four at bats raised his batting average during the current homestand to .333 (11 for 33).
The Rangers scored twice in the ninth to go ahead by a score of 8-5. Veteran closer Joe Nathan earned his 26th save in 27 save opportunities this year.
Phil Hughes (3-6) and Derek Holland (5-4) will be the starters in the rubber game of the three game set on Thursday afternoon.