Pettitte would remain in the game, but the peculiar play led to a 32-pitch, four-run third inning on Wednesday night, propelling the lefthander toward his third-straight loss (5-6) in a 8-5 defeat to the Texas Rangers.
Pettitte had recorded six-straight outs when Leonys Martin led off the third with a slow dribbler down the third baseline. Pettitte beat Yankee third baseman Nix to the ball, barehanded it, and attempted a throw to first. On the follow through, Pettitte’s arm collided with Nix, leaving the pitcher bent over in pain.
Ron Antonelli/New York Daily News
Another homer for Ichiro Suzuki, who hits a two-run blast in the seventh inning.
A brief trip to the mound convinced Joe Girardi that his starter was OK, but a walk to Ian Kinsler and a throwing error by Nix followed to load the bases for Texas. After striking out Nelson Cruz looking, Pettitte allowed consecutive two-run doubles to Adrian Beltre and A.J. Pierzynski, making it 4-1. The lefthander would leave after six innings, allowing three earned runs, two walks and striking out six. He retired 11 of the final 13 batters he faced.
New York’s short-lived 1-0 lead came in the second inning with Lyle Overbay’s ninth home run of the season, a solo shot to right-center field. While they showed resolve, the Yankees would not lead again.
Back-to-back RBI singles by Robinson Cano and Travis Hafner cut the Texas lead to 4-3 in the sixth inning, but a 6-4-3 double play off the bat of Nix spoiled a bases-loaded, one-out threat.
Joba Chamberlain handed both runs right back in the seventh, serving up a two-run homer to Nelson Cruz. Ichiro Suzuki returned the favor in the bottom of the inning with a two-run shot of his own to make it 6-5, but two ninth inning insurance runs from the Rangers, helped by an error from Brett Gardner in center field, put the game out of reach.