Though Andy Pettitte's return to the majors did not live up to the hype, the veteran left-hander is only looking ahead.
Pettitte hopes his second start goes better as the New York Yankees look to avoid a season-high fourth consecutive defeat by continuing their interleague success Friday night against the visiting Cincinnati Reds.Back from retirement, the 39-year-old Pettitte took the ball Sunday for the first time since Game 3 of the AL championship series. However, amidst all the celebration, Pettitte allowed a pair of two-run homers and walked three in 6 1/3 innings of a 6-2 loss to Seattle.Despite the result, Pettitte felt right at home and eager to move forward."I just cannot believe how comfortable this is for me," Pettitte said. "There is not a question in my mind how this is all going to play out for me. It's not about this one start. I'll measure if this was a successful return or not at the end of October."Though Pettitte has not faced Cincinnati since 2008 with Houston, he's given up 10 hits and struck out 14 over 11 1/3 scoreless innings of his last two starts against the Reds.New York (20-18), a major league-best 157-107 against NL opponents, is riding a five-game interleague home winning streak. The Yankees averaged 5.2 runs while going 13-5 against the NL in 2011. That included taking two of three at Cincinnati."We'd like to come out and score a lot of runs every day, but it's not always going to be the case," shortstop Derek Jeter, whose 326 interleague hits are the most all-time, told the Yankees' official website. "Obviously, we're a whole lot better when up and down the lineup we're swinging well."New York, however, has totaled four runs and 13 hits during a three-game skid. Curtis Granderson had two of the Yankees' five hits in Thursday's 4-1 loss at Toronto."As a team, we're collectively not getting it done and we need to get better," manager Joe Girardi said.Alex Rodriguez is 3 for 18 in his last five games, but 7 for 19 in his last five versus Cincinnati. He's a lifetime .350 (7 for 20) hitter with two home runs and two homers off scheduled Cincinnati starter Bronson Arroyo (2-1, 3.25), who should be familiar with the Yankees from his days with Boston.The right-hander has a 6.99 ERA with no record in seven regular and postseason starts versus New York, but he has not faced the Yankees since 2005.Arroyo, 7-8 with a 6.00 ERA in 18 interleague starts for Cincinnati, gave up four runs and 11 hits in five innings but did not factor in the decision of a 9-6 win over Washington on Sunday.After falling 9-4 on Thursday to split a two-game set with the Mets at Citi Field, the Reds (19-18) make the short trek to the Bronx for the first time since taking two of three there in 2008. They are 5-4 all-time against the Yankees.Cincinnati went 6-12 against the AL last season, and is 97-123 all-time during interleague play.Batting .390 with four homers and 10 RBIs in his last 12 games, Reds star Joey Votto went 7 for 12 with a solo shot at the old Yankee Stadium in 2008.Teammate Ryan Ludwick is mired in a 4-for-32 slump but will serve as the designated hitter for two of the three games. He's 1 for 7 versus New York."I know he's better than he's shown," manager Dusty Baker told the Reds' official website. "The only way to come out of it is to play."