One pitch. That is all that separated Andy Pettitte from Cliff Lee. Besides one pitch, Pettittenearly matched Lee batter for batter. Lee went eight innings. Pettitte lasted seven.
But there was that one pitch.
“It was a just a bad pitch by me,” Pettitte said of the first inning toss that the Rangers’ Josh Hamilton lifted into the right field seats for a first inning two-run homer, the 362-foot job was the shortest for Hamilton this season. “I hung a cutter, left it on the inner half. I was trying to get it down and away and he hit it out. And at the time you don’t think that’s going to win the ballgame.”
The 2-0 score held up, because of Lee until the top of the ninth when the Yankees fell apart, making the 8-0 score a deceptive one when people look it up on BaseballReference.com years from now. It was pitchers duel for the ages before the Yankees' bullpen got involved.
"Cliff was great tonight, to say the least," Pettitte said. "He was just outstanding. You can't say enough about what he did tonight in this ballpark, to be able to do what he did is pretty impressive"
Pettitte was nearly as impressive, going seven inning and giving up just the two runs. Besides Hamilton's homer, he only gave up four other hits. He struck out five and a walked a Lee-like zero. The walks, though, were the only thing that Pettitte beat Lee on and so his effort wasn't enough.
Pettitte was just one pitch short.
"Literally, it hurts," Pettitte said. "You wish he would have fouled it off or something because I threw probably a couple, two or three other pitches the whole game where I didn't want to, and it ended up costing a us a ballgame. When you have a guy over there, throwing like Cliff is, that's what costs you ballgames right there."