Pettitte tries to put an end to the Yankees’ four-game losing streak Tuesday night as they continue a three-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.
Rookie Matt DeSalvo lasted 4 2-3 innings and the offense managed only five hits as the Yankees (21-28) opened a 10-game road trip Monday with a 7-2 loss.
“We’re not happy campers, there’s no question about that,” Yankees manager Joe Torre said.
The defeat dropped baseball’s highest-paid team 13 1/2 games behind AL East-leading Boston and into a last-place tie with Tampa Bay. New York has managed only 12 runs during the four-game skid.
“In the end, all the guys in here believe that we can make the playoffs,” outfielder Johnny Damon said. “When we start walking around with our heads down, that’s when we need to start worrying. We know we have an uphill climb, there’s no question about it, but there’s no quit. We’re going to battle. Hopefully, in the end, there’s going to be a nice prize.”
Outside of Jorge Posada and Derek Jeter, who rank first and fourth, respectively, in AL batting, and Alex Rodriguez, it would be difficult to find a Yankee that has been better this season than Pettitte (3-3, 2.66 ERA).
The left-hander, who is tied for fifth in the AL in ERA, has allowed three runs or fewer in five straight starts and has pitched at least seven innings in four consecutive outings.
Pettitte had one of his best starts of the season Wednesday in an 8-3 win over the Red Sox, yielding one run and nine hits in seven innings.
He is 10-3 with a 4.35 ERA in 14 career starts at Toronto.
The Yankees hope to provide Pettitte with some support after a disappointing effort with their bats Monday against Blue Jays starter Dustin McGowan, who entered with a 7.17 ERA and recorded his first win in more than a year.
McGowan held New York scoreless until he surrendered Hideki Matsui’s two-run homer in the eighth inning. He struck out a career-high seven in 7 2-3 innings, the longest start of his career.
“I’m at a loss with the offense,” Torre said. “Hopefully, Matsui started something tonight because he’s really been struggling the past few days.”
The Blue Jays (23-27) have allowed seven runs during a four-game home win streak. They have won five of six at Rogers Centre after losing 10 of their first 17 games there.
Lyle Overbay continued his hot hitting Monday. He opened the scoring in the third inning with a solo homer and doubled home another run in the fifth.
Overbay is batting .458 (11-for-24) with two homers and six RBIs in his last five games.
Shaun Marcum (2-2, 4.33) looks to keep the Jays rolling at home. Marcum, who began this season in the bullpen, is 1-0 with a 2.84 ERA in his first three starts after he worked seven solid innings Thursday at Baltimore, allowing four runs and six hits before leaving without a decision.
Marcum, though, has not fared well in four career starts against the Yankees, going 1-1 with a 7.20 ERA.