Pettitte tries to snap Yanks' slide in opener with Twins

Andy Pettitte tries to put the brakes on a personal three- start losing streak Monday when the New York Yankees begin a four-game set with the Minnesota Twins at Target Field.

Pettitte lost for the fourth time in five decisions on Wednesday against Texas, as the Rangers reached him for four runs (3 earned) and six hits in six innings, dropping him to 5-6 on the year to go along with a 4.22 ERA.

It marked the third straight start that the left-hander had allowed more than three runs.

"It's the same old story right now for me after every time I pitch, just frustrating," Pettitte said. "Right now, it's just not happening for me."

Pettitte has faced the Twins 22 times and is 12-5 against them with a 3.32 ERA. He hasn't lost to them, though, over his last 12 starts including the postseason dating back to May 2001. In fact he is 13-1 with a 2.38 ERA against the Twins since 1999.

New York capped an ugly month of June with a 4-2 loss to Baltimore. The Yankees were swept in the three-game set by the Orioles and fell to 11-16 in the month to drop 6 1/2 games off the pace in the American League East.

"This is like life," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Everything is not going to be easy. You find ways to get through it. I'm not going to get frustrated. I know the effort these guys are putting in. I'm going to stick up for them."

The Yankees have managed just 13 runs and are hitting .238 during a five-game slide. But, it's not just the offense, as the pitching staff ranked 26th in ERA in the month of June.

"We're definitely in striking distance," said Girardi. "We're in the middle of our division right now. You'd like to be better, but it's not the case. It should be a very interesting second half."

Minnesota, meanwhile, was denied a series win on Sunday, as it dropped a 9-8 decision to the Kansas City Royals to split the four-game set with its American League Central rivals.

Clete Thomas and Justin Morneau each hit two-run homers and Oswaldo Arcia had two hits and drove in a run for the Twins, losers in four of their last six games.

Getting the call for the Twins on Monday will be lefty Scott Diamond, who is 5-7 with a 5.40 ERA. Diamond lost for the third time in four starts on Wednesday in Miami, as he allowed four runs and eight hits in five innings to the Marlins. He also struck out four without walking a batter.

Diamond has only recorded one quality start since May 7, and his ERA has jumped from 3.03 to 5.40 during that span.

"I feel like I'm showing more consistency," Diamond said. "I'm actually getting pitches better. I have progressed even though my numbers haven't shown it, and I'm just really waiting for it to start cracking, and if I'm still on the hot seat, then that's the way it is."

Diamond lost his only other start against the Yankees and gave up five runs and 10 hits in four innings of that one.

New York won four of its seven matchups with the Twins last season.