LOS ANGELES -- Andy Pettitte didn't exactly sound the alarm for the 2013 Yankees.
But the veteran lefthander, perhaps watching AL East foes Tampa, Boston and Baltimore slowly pulling further away, put the club on notice.
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"There's no doubt, it's getting late," Pettitte said after last night's 3-2 loss to the Dodgers. "We need to win."
Pettitte did his part, turning in a second straight solid outing after having struggled for much of the last two months. Pettitte allowed two runs and eight hits in seven innings in getting the no-decision.
But it was another unproductive night by the offense, which showed Sunday's six-run outburst against the Rays may have been an aberration.
Mark Ellis won it with a two-out, single off Shawn Kelley in the bottom of the ninth, driving in Andre Ethier, who singled with one out and stole second with two out, sending the crowd of 52,447 into the kind of celebration with which they've become familiar.
The first-place Dodgers (57-48) improved to 10-1 since the All-Star break and 27-6 since June 22, MLB's best record in that time frame.
The Yankees (55-51), even with Derek Jeter and Alfonso Soriano providing some potential from the right side of the plate, may not have the pieces to go on that kind of prolonged run. And all indications are major help by Wednesday's 4 p.m. trade deadline is unlikely.
"It's tough," Joe Girardi said. "I thought Andy pitched a really good game. We've had some tough losses this second half and we have to bounce back."
The Yankees had five hits, including Lyle Overbay's 12th homer. He drove in both Yankees runs, with his fourth-inning groundout tying the score at 2.
"We're going to have to win games like this," he said. "It's not a surprise. This is what we have. We're going to have to win close games."
Jeter went 0-for-4 in his second straight start after being activated from the disabled list Sunday. He grounded out four times and was noticeably taking it easy running up the first- base line. A groundout to shortstop Hanley Ramirez in the eighth, one Ramirez had to dive on, would have been a hit in the past, Jeter said with a smile afterward.
Girardi said it is all part of "being smart," protecting Jeter's quad.
Jeter said it has not been easy and that this style of running won't last long.
"It's hard," Jeter said. "Trying to look big picture and do what I'm told. I don't want to do anything stupid. But it's very difficult. The natural reaction is to run as hard as you can and you can't."
As for the season getting "late," Jeter wasn't quite to that point.
"It's too early to talk about that," he said. "We just have to go one day at a time. I'm not thinking about the playoffs. We lost a tough one today and we have to win tomorrow. That's the bottom line. It's way to early to talk about playoffs."
But it's a place, Pettitte said, veterans like he and Jeter and Mariano Rivera very much expect to be.
"I expect to go," Pettitte said. "And I'm sure and I hope everyone in this room feels the exact same way.''