Only one previous time before last week had Andy Pettitte allowed 10 earned runs in a game. He responded with a win his next time out.
The veteran left-hander was tagged for 10 runs and 10 hits over 6 2-3 innings Saturday, but escaped without a decision as the Yankees (33-33) rallied for a 12-11 victory over Kansas City.
The only other start in which Pettitte, who turns 36 on Sunday, gave up 10 earned runs was on July 30, 1996 when he lasted 2 2-3 innings in a 15-2 loss at Texas. He struck out 11 in beating Kansas City in his next outing.
Pettitte went 3-3 with a 3.93 ERA this April, but has gone 2-2 with a 5.91 ERA in his last seven outings.
“The first month of the season I felt I was locked in. I’m not really looking for any answers. I’m just battling my tail off,” he said. “There’s no doubt I feel great. I feel like I’ve been throwing great. It’s definitely frustrating. I just chalk it up to it’s baseball and you’re going to have some bad starts. The rest takes care of itself.”
New York manager Joe Girardi believes Pettitte will get on track because he thinks it is little things costing him right now - and because Pettitte has a reputation for being a successful second-half pitcher.
“He’s always been a big-game pitcher. He’s always seemed to rise to the occasion,” Girardi said. “He’s always seemed to get better as the year went on. Most of the time he’s looked pretty decent. He’s had a couple rough outings but I don’t expect that to last.”
Pettitte has fared better on the road, going 4-2 with a 3.95 ERA in seven outings. He’s 3-3 with a 3.93 ERA in nine starts at Oakland, where he is winless in his last four appearances.
The Yankees lost for the first time in eight games against AL West foes, 8-4 on Wednesday. Oakland (35-30) used six straight hits in the third inning to score six runs that gave starter Justin Duchscherer all the support he needed.
“That six-run inning was something we hadn’t done for a while,” A’s manager Bob Geren said. “We hadn’t linked hits together. It was nice to see.”
Jack Cust drove in three runs for the A’s, who are 11-6 against the Yankees since the start of the 2006 season.
Thursday’s starter for the A’s is Joe Blanton (3-8, 4.15), who is the first Oakland pitcher with eight losses before June 6 since Mike Mohler in 1997. Blanton enters after losing two straight starts, although he gave up three runs over seven innings last Friday in a 3-1 loss to John Lackey and the Los Angeles Angels.
The right-hander also fell to 1-6 with a 3.84 ERA in 10 outings at the Coliseum and leads the majors in home losses.
Blanton is 0-2 with a 9.39 ERA in three career starts against the Yankees.