Andy Pettitte eyes his fourth straight winning decision on Friday when the New York Yankees continue a four-game set with the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium.
Pettitte seemed to be well on his way to an 11th win of the season on Sunday against Baltimore, having not allowed a run through the first six innings. However, he was lifted in the seventh after putting two runners on and the Yankees bullpen imploded, leaving Pettitte with a no-decision in the 7-3 loss.
"He was up in pitches and they had just squared up two balls against him, so we felt it was time to make a change," manager Joe Girardi said. "Unfortunately it didn't work out."
Still and all, Pettitte is 10-9 with a 4.01 ERA and has allowed just four earned runs over his last five starts. The veteran lefty started his winning streak against the Red Sox back on Aug. 16 when he gave up three unearned runs. For his career he is 20-11 against them with a 3.76 ERA in 42 games (40 starts).
Boston, meanwhile, will counter with a lefty of its own in Felix Doubront, who is coming off a shaky outing. Doubront did not get a decision on Sunday against Chicago, but allowed four runs and seven hits in 3 2/3 innings of his team's 7-6 win. He is 10-6 on the year with a 3.89 ERA.
"Inability to finish off some hitters," Boston manager John Farrell said of Doubront. "It's not that he created issues with base on balls. He gets north of 40 pitches in an inning and to me that's when you get into some danger zone from a health standpoint. With a one-run lead, the way it was, [I] felt like we had to go to the bullpen to preserve it."
Doubront lost to Pettitte and the Yanks the last time he faced them and is 3-2 with a 3.33 ERA in 11 games (7 starts) against them.
Boston won in thrilling fashion on Thursday, as it rallied in the ninth off of Mariano Rivera to send the game into extra innings, before Shane Victorino's RBI single in the 10th carried it to a 9-8 win.
"Just a character win, a team win," Farrell said.
The Red Sox had led 7-2, but the Yankees exploded for six runs in the seventh to take the lead. However, after a 1-2-3 eighth inning from David Robertson, Rivera couldn't nail down the save, as he allowed a two-out single to Mike Napoli, who was lifted in favor of pinch-runner Quintin Berry.
Berry then stole second, advanced to third on Austin Romine's throwing error and scored on Stephen Drew's single to right-center field to even the game.
The Yankees sent Joba Chamberlain (2-1) to the mound in the 10th. Jacoby Ellsbury singled, stole second and scored on Victorino's single to right- center field.
"It's a tough loss, there's no doubt about it," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "But we have to bounce back. You can't feel sorry for yourself."
With Tampa Bay losing in Anaheim New York didn't lose any ground in the wild card chase, as it still sits 2 1/2 games back of the Rays for the final spot in the AL.
Boston, though, leads the Rays by 6 1/2 in the AL East and holds a nine game edge on the Yankees.
Boston has won eight of its 13 matchups with the Yankees this season.