While he'll be making what could be his final start at Yankee Stadium, Andy Pettitte has his sights set on improving the New York Yankees' slim playoff hopes.
Barring an unlikely run to the postseason, Pettitte takes the mound for the final time at home Sunday when the Yankees look to complete a three-game sweep of the San Francisco Giants.Ivan Nova pitched a six-hitter, Alfonso Soriano and Eduardo Nunez hit home runs and New York (82-73) won its second straight to keep pace in the wild-card chase with a 6-0 victory Saturday."If we play like we played (in the first two games) we feel like we can win every game," said Soriano, batting .357 during an eight-game hitting streak after homering in the first two games of this series.They may have to do that, with six teams battling for the two AL wild-card spots.The Yankees are at least giving themselves a chance as they seek their fourth win in five contests by giving the ball to Pettitte (10-10, 3.93 ERA). The left-hander announced his decision to retire at the end of the season at a news conference Friday.He retired after the 2010 season but sat out only one year before returning to the Yankees."Part of me coming back was to try to do this run again with the group of guys that we had here, and it's starting to get toward the end of that," Pettitte said. "We had a great run here, and my time here is done."Closer Mariano Rivera is also retiring at the end of the season, possibly signaling the end of an era in the Bronx. He'll be honored before the game."It's like brothers," Rivera told the team's official website of him and Pettitte leaving at the same time. "We came up with this organization at the same time. We've been through good times and bad times, but at the same time, we have enjoyed what we do. Now we're going out together, too."The 41-year-old Pettitte holds MLB playoff records with 19 wins and 44 starts, though it would take quite a final run by the Yankees for him to get an opportunity to add to those marks.Pettitte has helped New York to seven AL pennants and five World Series championships during 15 seasons in pinstripes. Following Sunday, he's scheduled to make his final regular-season start in his hometown of Houston."It's cool that it's going to work out that way," said Pettitte, 3-1 with 2.01 ERA over his last seven starts.The three-time All-Star suffered his first defeat since Aug. 5 his last time out, giving up one run over 6 2/3 innings in a 2-0 loss at Toronto on Tuesday.Pettitte, 3-0 with a 3.38 ERA in his last six home starts, faces the Giants (71-84) for the first time since 2005 when he was with the Astros. He has a 2-1 record and 1.91 ERA with 28 strikeouts in 28.1 innings in his past four interleague home starts.He'll face a San Francisco team that has totaled three runs and six extra-base hits in its last three games.The Giants hope to avoid their ninth loss in 10 interleague road games behind Yusmeiro Petit (4-0, 3.08), who has helped them to wins in five straight starts since his promotion from the minors Aug. 23.However, since throwing a one-hitter in a 3-0 victory over Arizona on Sept. 6, Petit hasn't been as sharp in two outings. He's allowed five walks and seven runs over 11 2/3 innings of those games.Soriano is 5 for 8 with a home run and three doubles against Petit.Robinson Cano has batted .444 with 20 RBIs in his last 20 games at home.