Andy Pettitte K's 10 in Another Dominant Performance as Yankees Blank Rays 7-0

Doug Rush@Doug_RushSenior Analyst IJune 5, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 05: Andy Pettitte #46 of the New York Yankees pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium on June 5, 2012 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Yankees defeated the Rays 7-0.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Heading into the series with the Rays, it was important for the Yankees to show they can hang with them because chances are, the Rays are going to be a potential playoff contender come October.

Andy Pettitte pitched on Tuesday night for the Yankees like he was in October form.

The 39-year old was absolutely dominant—yet again—for the Yankees, pitching 7.1 solid innings, allowing just two hits, no runs, walked two and struck out 10.

In his last outing against the Angels, Pettitte wasn't as sharp although he pitched into the seventh inning, but in this latest start, he was much better around.

Pettitte used his breaking pitches to get the free-swinging Rays hitters to chase strike three while keeping the hits to a minimum.

Desmond Jennings and B.J. Upton each had singles, but that was all the Rays could muster up against Pettitte as he kept them off the bases and had them mostly walking back to the dugout in disappointment.

Pettitte picked up his third win of the season, improving his record to 3-2 with a 2.78 ERA.

He has now thrown 35.2 innings and has 32 strikeouts with just seven walks; an outstanding ratio.

What's really great to see about Pettitte is he's pitching deep into games; even when he didn't pitch as well in his last start against the Angels, he still went seven innings despite allowing five runs.

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 05:  Andy Pettitte #46 of the New York Yankees delivers a pitch in the first-inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium on June 5, 2012 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Mike Stobe/Getty Images

The Yankees lineup gave him a lot of run support as well and was able to beat a very good pitcher in James Shields.

The Yankees went up 2-0 after a throwing error by Elliott Johnson scored Curtis Granderson and Alex Rodriguez in the bottom of the first.

In the bottom of the fourth, Shields was really struggling with his command, loading the bases for a second time in the game, and Russell Martin hit a high fastball over the right-field wall for a grand slam that made it 6-0 Yankees.

An RBI double from Nick Swisher in the bottom of the fifth made it 7-0, and that was all the run support Pettitte needed from the Yankee hitters as they cruised to the victory.

Shields went five innings, allowed seven hits, seven runs (five of them earned), walked four and struck out two and took the loss. His defense also was terrible behind him, committing three errors.

Shields has never had great numbers against the Yankees and now has a 5-13 career record in 23 starts against the Bombers.

For the $2.5 million the Yankees are paying Pettitte in 2012, he's been perhaps the best bargain of the entire team.

His stuff on the mound has been as good as it's ever been, getting a ton of strikeouts and giving the Yankees a ton of quality innings.

After his latest great outing, Pettitte is set to pitch again for the Yankees on Sunday afternoon in the season finale of the Subway Series against the New York Mets.

Five starts in, and all things are looking great for Pettitte and the Yankees.