NEW YORK -- Andy Pettitte earned his 252nd career win Thursday, but it wasn't pretty.
He gave up three runs in the first inning, one more in the second, and was pulled in the sixth after a pair of near-miss home runs. The Yankees' offense bailed Pettitte out, however, scoring eight times and allowing him to pass Bob Gibson for sole possession of 44th place on the all-time wins list.
"I'm ready to hang myself is what I'm ready to do, I'm not gonna lie to you," a frustrated Pettitte said after the game. "I'm telling you, my prework before the game today was as good as it's been all year, and I felt so good going out there."
Pettitte was hurt by bunts in each of his first two frames. In the first inning, with Alex Gordon on first base, Alcides Escobar laid one down the first-base line that Lyle Overbay fielded but had no play on. Both runners eventually scored on a Salvador Perez double.
In the second inning, No. 9 hitter David Lough also bunted, with one out and nobody on. Pettitte fielded that one, but in his haste to secure the out, threw the ball away, allowing Lough to advance to second. He later scored on an Escobar single.
"I'll admit, I'm not the fastest person in the world," Pettitte said. "I wish I was as agile as Mariano [Rivera], and like a little rabbit getting off [the mound]. It's just, some of these runs that are really hurting are on plays that I need to get over there and make, and I'm just not quite getting those done either."
Pettitte posted three zeroes in innings three through five, although he allowed at least one baserunner in each. In the sixth, Zoilo Almonte had to make a leaping grab at the left-field wall, and then Ichiro Suzuki made a gorgeous running grab at the warning track in dead-center. Manager Joe Girardi immediately removed Pettitte after that.
"I got a little tired," Pettitte admitted. "I don't know if my last start in the heat, and then just the heat today -- I had to go back out there pretty quick a couple innings in a row. I just got a little tired during that last inning."
Girardi took a positive approach to Pettitte's outing.
"I thought he threw the ball pretty well, actually," the manager said. "We don't make the bunt play in the first, we don't make the bunt play in the next inning, and it just led to some runs today against him. He could probably have given up one earned run in the almost six innings, and then you look at his line a little bit different."
Regardless, Pettitte has given up at least four runs in six starts in a row. He improved to 7-6 on the season, but his ERA rose to 4.39.
And you have to wonder if this is the Pettitte we're going to see the rest of the season, at best. After all, he turned 41 years old last month. And he hasn't pitched a full season since 2009.
Pettitte himself, however, sounds confident he can regain his early-season form. He won his first three starts of the year, with a 2.01 ERA.
"I feel like it's gotta turn," Pettitte said. "I don't feel like I'm making a lot of horrible pitches. If I was, the ball would be flying out of the ballpark like crazy. And that's not happening. It's just a tough go right now. So hopefully we'll get through it. That's my last start for the first half here, and just look forward to hopefully having a productive and healthy second half."