After feeling fine following his most recent outing, Andy Pettitte will try to win his first four starts for the first time during a successful and lengthy major league career.
Pettitte (3-0, 2.01 ERA) has started 4-0 twice in his previous 17 seasons (1997, 2010), but never through the first four starts. He's in position to do so after allowing three runs in 7 1-3 innings of a 9-4 win at Toronto on Friday."Andy is remarkable," teammate Vernon Wells said of Pettitte, who turns 41 in June. "I've had a chance to see him for a long time and he's the same guy he was 10, 12 years ago. It's fun to watch and it's a pleasure to watch an individual that's been around this long and still continues to have success."
Pettitte had missed his previous turn in the rotation due to back spasms, but manager Joe Girardi said Pettitte felt fine after beating the Blue Jays.
"Normal soreness, so everything is OK," Girardi told the Yankees' official website Saturday. "You want to see how the back responds after the workload, and it came out OK, so I'm pleased."
Pettitte dominated the Rays (9-11) in his lone chance last season, allowing two hits and striking out 10 over 7 1-3 innings in a 7-0 home win June 5.
He'll look to help the Yankees (11-8) win this series after a 4-3 victory on Tuesday. Ichiro Suzuki had two hits, including a go-ahead two-run single in the ninth as New York improved to 3-2 on a six-game trip."I haven't been able to do much, but hopefully things like this will help me get past it," said the 39-year-old Suzuki, who is hitting .220 with a homer and five RBIs.
Robinson Cano added two hits, and is batting .423 (11 for 26) in the last six games. He's batted .387 (12 for 31) in his last eight at Tropicana Field.
Both hits in nine at-bats against scheduled Rays starter Alex Cobb (2-1, 2.53) have been home runs.
The right-hander allowed three runs and overcame 10 hits to last 7 1-3 innings for an 8-3 win over Oakland on Friday.
"He was more workmanlike (Friday), and that's a great thing," manager Joe Maddon told the Rays' official website.
He is 1-1 with a 3.15 ERA in three starts against the Yankees.
Tampa Bay's four-game winning streak ended Tuesday, but Maddon again plans to keep things lose in the clubhouse Wednesday as he did through the first five games of the homestand. He had a DJ play music, a magician do card tricks and Tuesday a cockatoo made an appearance."Snakes are out," Maddon said. "I will not be in the clubhouse with a snake. Regardless of what people say, I'm not on board with that."
Teammate Evan Longoria has reached base in all 20 games after homering Tuesday. Half of his 10 hits in 39 at-bats during a 10-game hitting streak have left the park.
He is 2 for 18 with a double and a home run versus Pettitte.
|New York Yankees|
|April 22, 2013||Kevin Youkilis||Day-to-Day||Lower back tightness|
|April 12, 2013||Eduardo Nunez||Day-to-Day||Left game - right wrist contusion|
|March 26, 2013||Cesar Cabral||60-Day DL||Left elbow pain|
|March 22, 2013||Curtis Granderson||15-Day DL||Fractured right forearm|
|March 22, 2013||Derek Jeter||15-Day DL||Recovery from left ankle surgery|
|March 22, 2013||Phil Hughes||15-Day DL||Right upper back thoracic injury|
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|March 31, 2013||Juan Carlos Oviedo||60-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
|March 28, 2013||Jeff Niemann||60-Day DL||Right shoulder surgery - out for season|
|March 24, 2013||Luke Scott||15-Day DL||Strained right calf|
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Alex Cobb felt like the game was in good hands when he got pulled two outs from a potential shutout.
Cobb scattered three hits over 8 1-3 innings, Ben Zobrist drove in two runs and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the New York Yankees 3-0 on Wednesday night.
"He can get on that kind of a roll," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "When he has his fastball command going, which he had all night, everything else plays off of that."
Cobb (3-1) gave up only two hits through the eighth - Eduardo Nunez 's second-inning single and an infield single by Jayson Nix in the sixth. The right-hander, who struck out seven and walked one, was replaced by Fernando Rodney after giving up a one-out single in the ninth to Brett Gardner .
"I was pretty tired," Cobb said. "Early in the year, close game. Power guys coming up. You've got to get the win, and Rodney obviously shuts the door pretty well."
After allowing Ichiro Suzuki 's single, Rodney completed his third save by retiring Robinson Cano and Travis Hafner .
Zobrist put the Rays up 2-0 on a two-out, two-run double off Andy Pettitte (3-1) in the fifth.
Sean Rodriguez homered for Tampa Bay, which has won 13 of its last 16 homes games against the Yankees dating to July 2011. The Rays have thrown five shutouts this season.
Pettitte came up short in his bid to win his first four starts of the season for the first time, giving up three runs and seven hits in six innings. The 40-year old struck out 10, giving him 15 career double-digit strikeout games, and walked one.
Jose Molina was hit in the foot by Pettitte to open the fifth. The catcher advanced to third after Yankees right fielder Brennan Boesch was charged with an error for letting Kelly Johnson 's ground single go under his glove. Johnson reached second on the miscue.
After Pettitte struck out Desmond Jennings and Ryan Roberts , Zobrist, who improved to 9 for 22 against the left-hander, lined his double to center.
"It wasn't over the middle of the plate, it just wasn't a great sequence for me," Pettitte said. "It wasn't a terrible pitch, but obviously it wasn't the right pitch at that time."
Waiting in the on-deck circle when Zobrist got his hit was Tampa Bay slugger Evan Longoria , who was 2 for 20, including two hitless at-bats earlier Wednesday, with 11 strikeouts against Pettitte. Longoria hit an inning-ending grounder to third.
"I'm just trying to get him out," Pettitte said of pitching to Zobrist. "I have no idea what my numbers are on him. I feel like everybody's hitting .300 off me, to tell you the truth, so I'm just trying to make pitches."
Tampa Bay went ahead 3-0 on a solo homer in the sixth by Rodriguez.
Maddon concluded his homestand-long effort to keep his team loose Wednesday by having a pair of penguins, Cliff and Shelly, in the clubhouse before batting practice.
"It's a continuation of our attempt to get our players to chill out a bit," Maddon said.
Maddon featured a cockatoo, which he had in clubhouse and later on his shoulder as he held his pregame media session on Tuesday. Last weekend he had a DJ play music in the clubhouse and a magician do card tricks.
The Rays went 5-1 on the homestand after losing seven of nine on a road trip.
"It was a tough, tough road trip," Cobb said. "It was becoming not fun to be in the clubhouse. We definitely made up for that this homestand, which was also fun."
NOTES: Yankees INF Kevin Youkilis (lower back tightness) missed his fourth straight game. Manager Joe Girardi hasn't completely ruled out Youkilis from playing Thursday. ... Girardi said OF Curtis Granderson (broken right forearm) took 15 swings of batting practice for the first time in a cage at the team's complex in nearby Tampa. He might take on-field BP this weekend. ... Rays SS Yunel Escobar left with right hamstring tightness. ... MLB announced a scoring change from an Apr 20 game at Toronto that changes Youkilis' two-run single in the fifth to an error. ... New York SS Derek Jeter , who found out last Thursday that he fractured his ankle for the second time in six months, will address the injury with reporters Thursday at Yankee Stadium. ... Longoria finished 0 for 4, which stopped his streak of reaching base safely in 34 straight games dating back to last season.