On a day that began with news that Mark Teixeira would require season-ending wrist surgery, and an afternoon that featured general manager Brian Cashman's attempts to dispel a perceived feud with Alex Rodriguez, the Yankees might have had a collective conniption Wednesday night at this sight:
Andy Pettitte doubled over in the third inning, having just slammed his left arm into Jayson Nix's back.
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Pettitte fielded Leonys Martin's slow roller toward third and attempted to throw, but Nix, the third baseman, was nearby and the lefthander's arm clipped him. The 41-year-old went down to his knees as the trainers and Joe Girardi rushed out.
"It [shook me up] at first because I hit him; I hit him good and knocked the wind out of him," Pettitte said. "I was fortunate I didn't hurt my arm. I felt fine."
But that play, which went for an infield single, a subsequent walk and Nix's throwing error loaded the bases. Adrian Beltre and A.J. Pierzynski followed with two-run doubles as the Rangers went on to an 8-5 win at the Stadium.
"I feel good, but it's frustrating because you want to win," said Pettitte (5-6), who has lost his last three starts. "I'm not putting up zeros, not getting it done."
Lyle Overbay put the Yankees on the board in the second, crushing a solo homer to right. But Pettitte -- and the defense -- couldn't hold the lead. In six innings, he allowed six hits and four runs, three earned, and struck out six. A highlight was Pettitte's fifth-inning strikeout of Beltre, which was his 1,956th, tying him with Whitey Ford for the most in franchise history.
Rangers righthander Justin Grimm (7-5), who entered with a 7.01 ERA in seven road starts, pitched five-plus innings, allowing six hits and three runs.
The Yankees (42-35) rallied in the sixth, when Brett Gardner led off with an infield single and Ichiro Suzuki followed with a double, knocking out Grimm and putting runners at second and third. Robinson Cano and Travis Hafner hit RBI singles off reliever Robbie Ross to pull the Yankees within 4-3.
But that was negated on Nelson Cruz's two-run homer off Joba Chamberlain in the seventh, which put the Rangers back up by three.
"I know I [stink] right now, there's no getting around it," said Chamerblain, who was booed loudly as he exited after two outs and with his ERA up to 6.38. "I'd boo me, too. I'm terrible right now."
Said Girardi of Chamberlain: "Somehow we have to find a way to get him going. This guy needs to help us. To me, his stuff is too good not to help us, but right now he's making mistakes."
Ichiro's two-run shot in the seventh brought the Yankees within 6-5, but the Rangers (45-33) added two unearned runs in the ninth as Gardner dropped a fly ball.
On Monday, Cano attributed the Yankees' recent offensive woes to the absence of its big-name hitters. "When we have our whole lineup back," he said, "it's gonna be different."
We now know that won't be the case with Teixeira out.
"It's tough when you lose players,'' Girardi said, "but nobody is going to feel sorry for you."
Notes & quotes: Girardi said he was pleased with the footage he saw of Michael Pineda's rehab start Tuesday in Trenton. Pineda, recovering from shoulder surgery, allowed two hits and fanned four in six scoreless innings, and his fastball reached 95 mph. Eduardo Nuñez (rib injury) is expected to begin his rehab assignment with Class-A Tampa Thursday.