Andy Pettitte was not a satisfied customer Thursday.
Although the Yankees got enough from him to scratch out an 8-4 win over the Royals in a matinee at the Stadium, Pettitte wasn't content with his performance. The lefthander lifted his record to 7-6 but put the Yankees in a 4-1 hole after 11/2 innings. He allowed four runs -- three earned -- and eight hits in 52/3 innings, throwing 95 pitches.
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The Yankees gained a split of their four-game series with Kansas City, but it wasn't enough to put a smile on Pettitte's face.
"I don't know if it was the heat or what," he said. "But my legs gave way a little bit out there."
It was the fifth straight start in which Pettitte -- the oldest starting pitcher in the major leagues at 41 -- couldn't go seven innings. He hasn't reached that mark since going seven in a 5-2 loss to the Angels on June 14. In the last five starts, he is 2-2 with a 5.40 ERA.
"I'm ready to hang myself," he joked. "[That's] what I'm ready to do."
His struggles Thursday began in the first inning when he loaded the bases with one out on two singles and a walk. Salvador Perez's two-run double and Lorenzo Cain's sacrifice fly gave the Royals a 3-0 lead.
Pettitte has given up at least two first-inning runs in each of his last three starts. "I need to figure out something in these first innings where I can get some outs and not have to be out there grinding the first couple of innings of a ballgame," he said.
After his own throwing error on David Lough's bunt single, he allowed an unearned run in the second on Alcides Escobar's two-out RBI single as the Yankees fell behind 4-1. But by the time Pettitte left with two outs in the sixth, the Yankees had a 7-4 lead.
"Obviously, I'm looking at the bottom line. It's a win, and I'm thankful for that," he said. "But you'd still like to go out there and have some starts where you throw six, seven innings or so and give up maybe one or two earned runs."