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Andy dandy in first win since 2010

Andy Pettitte pitches against the Cincinnati Reds. (May

Andy Pettitte pitches against the Cincinnati Reds. (May 18, 2012) Credit: Jim McIsaac

After the hoopla of his less-than-triumphant return on Mother's Day, Andy Pettitte on Friday night began what Yankees manager Joe Girardi called his "normal season."

Pettitte certainly seemed settled in. He pitched eight shutout innings and struck out nine as the Yankees beat the Cincinnati Reds, 4-0, at Yankee Stadium in their first interleague game of the season.

It was Pettitte's first win since July 8, 2010, and ended a three-game Yankees losing streak.

"I felt good, no doubt about it," Pettitte said. "Everything was working. I didn't think that I might have been a little uptight in the last game. I just felt like maybe I wasn't quite as relaxed as I need to be when I'm trying to make pitches."

On Sunday, in the first outing of his comeback, Pettitte allowed four runs on a pair of two-run home runs in a 6-2 loss to the Mariners. He pitched 61/3 innings and departed to a standing ovation from a crowd just happy to have him back in pinstripes.

On Friday night, fans chanted Pettitte's name after Alex Rodriguez made a diving catch and throw to retire Drew Stubbs for the final out of the eighth inning.

"He had everything going tonight," Girardi said. "I thought his cutter was exceptional. I thought his location of his fastballs were exceptional."

Pettitte (1-1) was brilliant over his 115 pitches. He gave up four singles and walked one batter. Another batter -- Zack Cozart, the first hitter of the game -- reached on Chris Stewart's passed ball after a strikeout.

After a sacrifice bunt, Pettitte struck out the next two.

"You never want to start the game off like that," said Stewart, who never had caught Pettitte. "He bailed me out."

Pettitte also struck out three in the third inning. The Reds never had more than one baserunner in an inning against Pettitte, who fulfilled a wish that Girardi made on WCBS' pregame show with Suzyn Waldman.

"She said, 'What do you want out of Andy today?' " Girardi said. "I said, 'Can I be greedy?' She said, 'Sure.' I said, 'Eight innings, shutout baseball.' "

With their offense struggling, the Yankees needed it. They led just 1-0 with two outs in the bottom of the eighth against Bronson Arroyo (2-2). But Robinson Cano hit a long solo home run to right, his fourth of the season.

After Alex Rodriguez (2-for-4, double, RBI) singled, Raul Ibañez stroked a two-run blast to right to make it 4-0. It was Ibañez's eighth home run and helped paper over another frustrating night for the Yankees with runners in scoring position.

The Yankees came into the game in a 3-for-41 funk in those spots. It didn't get better as they went 0-for-7 with a walk and an RBI groundout, by Rodriguez in the fourth.

The lack of clutch hitting tested Pettitte. So did the Yankees' absence of a proven eighth-inning guy without Mariano Rivera and David Robertson. Girardi admitted he pushed the 39-year-old Pettitte for more pitches than he wanted to.

"It's not something I want to do on a consistent basis," Girardi said. "He looked like his stuff was really good. And I talked to him. I looked him in the eyes."

Those eyes said he could give the Yankees one more inning. He retired the Reds in order. Boone Logan pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to complete the shutout.

"He must have been doing something real good while he was retired," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "He looked as sharp as I've ever seen him."

Considering that . . . does a night like Friday make Pettitte wonder about whether he should have taken last year off?

"Not one bit," he said. "I don't regret that at all."

New York Sports