BALTIMORE (AP)—Andy Pettitte picked up a victory in his final start before the playoffs. The fashion in which he got it, however, wasn’t exactly what the left-hander had in mind.
In his tuneup for Game 2 of the divisional series at Cleveland, Pettitte (15-9) yielded nine runs and eight hits—including two home runs—in five innings.
“I wanted to have a good outing. You never want to finish the regular season on that. You know what I’m saying?” he said. “I’m extremely thankful I feel good, my arm feels great and I hope I can give us a lot of good starts in the postseason.”
New York manager Joe Torre attributed the shaky outing to the fact that the Yankees had already clinched the wild card and fell out of contention in the AL East on Friday night.
“(With) the intensity with which we’ve played here for so long, it’s a natural,” Torre said. “Physically, he’s fine.”
The most surprising aspect of Pettitte’s performance is that it came against the Orioles. In 31 career starts before Saturday, he was 21-6 with a 3.63 ERA against Baltimore.
“There was no doubt it, it’s not the same once you have it wrapped up. There’s no question about it, I’m extremely disappointed in this outing,” he said. “You never want to go out there and get knocked around and not make quality pitches. I made a bunch of bad pitches. We won the game, which is a miracle—I give up nine runs and get a win out of it. That’s pretty unbelievable.”
There was no drop-off in production by baseball’s highest-scoring team: Each of the starters scored at least once, and shortstop Alberto Gonzalez was the only one who failed to get a hit.
Orioles starter Daniel Cabrera (9-18) put an appropriate finish on a horrid season by giving up seven runs and 10 hits in three-plus innings. He went 0-6 in his last eight starts and took over the major league lead in losses.
“I didn’t think he was sharp from the first inning,” Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. “You’d like to think when you get six runs and you get a lead like that and you’re going up against Pettitte, you take charge of it and put that sucker away.
“But he didn’t have much finish to his pitches,” Trembley said, “and the outs he was getting the balls were hit pretty hard. Then it really unraveled on him in that one inning.”
Before New York sent 13 batters to the plate in the fourth, Baltimore dominated.
Markakis gave the Orioles a 2-0 first-inning lead with 23rd home run after a walk to Melvin Mora. Jorge Posada hit an RBI single in the second for New York, but Baltimore scored twice in the bottom half and made it 6-1 in the third.
Then came the fourth. Posada, Duncan and Bronson Sardinha singled before Gonzalez reached on an error. Melky Cabrera followed with a two-run double and Wilson Betemit singled in a run to chase Daniel Cabrera.
Hernandez hit a three-run shot in the fifth and Payton added a solo shot in the eighth.
“It’s hard to come back after giving up 10 in one inning, but we did,” Trembley said. “That tells you something about playing for pride.”
Before the game, Torre said Chien-Ming Wang would start the opener against Cleveland. … Despite the loss, Baltimore can capture the season series for the first time in 10 years with a win in the finale Sunday. … Markakis had three hits, his fifth multihit game in the last eight. … The teams combined for 40 runs and 57 hits in the first two games of the series.