Andy Pettitte struggles again as Yankees lose to Rays, 8-3, at the Stadium

Andy Pettitte #46 of the New York Yankees

Andy Pettitte #46 of the New York Yankees looks on in the seventh inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium on Thursday, June 20 2013 in the Bronx borough of New York City.(Photo by Jim McIsaac) (Credit: Jim McIsaac)

Andy Pettitte blamed himself after the loss, par for the course for the veteran lefthander who is always his harshest critic.

And the 41-year-old certainly hasn't been good of late, including Thursday night in the Yankees' 8-3 loss to the Rays in front of 37,649 at the Stadium.

"Another disappointing outing, just another frustrating night," Pettitte said after he allowed five runs and nine hits in 62/3 innings. "I just need to be better."

Fine.

But focusing on Pettitte misses the point for the Yankees' plummet that shows no signs of slowing.

It was another anemic performance by the offense, which produced just three hits against a struggling Matt Moore and six over all, the biggest reason the Yankees (39-33) have lost seven of nine and eight of 12.

"We're in a funk right now and we need to get out of it," said Brett Gardner, who went 2-for-3 and is one of the few Yankees hitting. "We haven't been doing a good job of getting on base and scoring runs and we have to do a better job of those things. It seems like we're saying the same things after every loss."

Joe Girardi continues to express confidence in the makeshift lineups he's sending out, having no choice as these are the cards injuries have dealt him. And, correctly, he points out it's the same group that at one point had the Yankees 12 games over .500 at 30-18 on May 25.

Still, and the Stadium crowds, including last night's, seem to have an air of resignation that the Yankees have gotten away with as much as the can with lineups featuring Lyle Overbay, Vernon Wells and Travis Hafner.

"We have guys that are working their butts off," Girardi said. "Unfortunately, we haven't been scoring a lot of runs lately and it's costs us some games. But these guys are working and they're doing everything we're asking them to do."

Pitching, of course, was the primary reason the Yankees reached 12 games over .500 and to that end Pettitte's difficulties are a concern.

The lefthander hasn't been great since returning from the disabled list -- he had a back injury -- June 3 and while Pettitte (5-5, 4.20 ERA) said physically he feels good, his command hasn't been.

"My command in the zone needs to be good and my fastball command's not real good," Pettitte said. "Every ball I leave in the zone I'm giving up base hits right now."

Evan Longoria hit two home runs -- one against Pettitte in the fifth that made it 4-0 and one in the eighth against Joba Chamberlain that made it 6-3 -- to give him 16 on the season.

Yunel Escobar's two-run shot later in the eighth against Boone Logan made it 8-3.

Moore came in 0-3 in his last three starts having allowed 20 runs in the span. He departed with a 5-3 lead with one out in the seventh, having allowed three runs and four hits.

The Yankees did score three times in the sixth to cut their deficit to 4-3 but even that felt somewhat hollow as the runs came in on a wild pitch, a sacrifice fly and a ground out.

Pettitte gave one of the runs back in the seventh on back-to-back two-out doubles by Desmond Jennings and Sean Rodriguez that made it 5-3.

Pettitte has been throwing one side session between starts since coming back and theorized going back to his typical two might help him. Then again . . .

"That's just me just rambling right now," he said. "Look, I have to figure out, when I'm out there on that mound, how to make better pitches and get guys out, and I'm not doing a good job of that right now."

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