Indications from Sunday were that one might be enough.
Showing zero signs of a long layoff, Pettitte looked about the same as he did in the season's first half.
But the afternoon ended on a sour note for the Yankees as their bullpen and offense both failed in a 4-3, 11-inning loss to the Orioles at Camden Yards.
The Yankees finished this nine-game, three-city trip 3-6, with four of the losses coming in extra innings. The loss kept them from increasing their half-game lead over the Rays, who lost to the Angels. The Rays are at the Stadium Monday night to start a four-game series.
"This whole road trip was like this for us basically," Joe Girardi said. "You're going to go through tough times during the season. The good thing is we won a series and we get to go and we've played well at home."
Pettitte, after a rough first inning in which he allowed two of his three hits and his only run, was sharp, allowing three hits in six innings. He turned over a 3-1 lead to the bullpen, but Boone Logan allowed a run in the eighth and Mariano Rivera blew his second save of this trip, allowing Luke Scott's leadoff homer in the ninth to send it to extra innings.
"I'm not too concerned about Mo," Girardi said. "It happens."
Rivera said he wanted the 1-and-0 pitch Scott hit out up on the batter's hands instead of down, "pretty much where he makes his living."
"Tough game to lose," Rivera said. "Having the lead there and not saving the game is unacceptable. You have to go out there and do your job."
After the Yankees, who left 12 on base, blew a scoring chance in the 11th, the Orioles won it in the bottom half when Ty Wigginton doubled home Scott, who doubled off David Robertson to lead off the inning.
Alex Rodriguez, who had the day off, pinch hit for Greg Golson to start the 11th and drew a walk. Eduardo Nuñez pinch ran and, with Ramiro Peña at the plate and a 1-and-1 count, went to third when Gonzalez tried to pick him off and threw it away.
Marcus Thames then pinch hit, but struck out. Girardi called on Mark Teixeira, given the day off to let his right thumb and broken right pinkie toe heal, to pinch hit for Brett Gardner. Orioles manager Buck Showalter had Gonzalez intentionally walk Teixeira and Derek Jeter to load the bases for Lance Berkman (2-for-5 in his career against Gonzalez.) Berkman grounded into a 5-4-3 double play.
"It's frustrating because I can always tip my hat to the pitcher if he makes a good pitch but that was a terrible pitch," said Berkman, who had been hitting well on this trip until he went 1-for-11 in the last two games. "That ball was hanging right in the middle of the plate. There's no reason to not hit that ball hard and I just didn't do it."
But even with the bullpen and offense's failures, Pettitte's performance was still the long-term story of the day. The Yanks' rotation suddenly doesn't look quite as shaky as it did.
"It was definitely encouraging, that's for sure," Pettitte said. "The body was good, it felt good, and it felt good to get back out there."