A Hair Away: Andy Pettitte Comes Close to Perfection

Scott McGrath@smcgrath5Correspondent ISeptember 1, 2009

BALTIMORE - AUGUST 31:  Andy Pettitte #46 of the New York Yankees pitches against the Baltimore Orioles on August 31, 2009 at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

Oh, what could have been in Camden Yards on Monday night.

Andy Pettitte had gone six-and-two-thirds perfect innings, and it felt like there was something in the air.

Pettitte had only thrown 65 pitches at this time and was looking fresh, until misfortune struck.

A hard hit ground ball by Adam Jones was mis-fielded by third baseman Jerry Hairston Jr., who was playing tonight to allow starter Alex Rodriguez a night off.

Because the play was ruled an error, Pettitte still had a chance for a no-hitter. However, pitching from the stretch for the first time that night seemed to throw him off, as the next batter Nick Markakis recorded a single.

Pettitte closed the inning without giving up a run, and still had a shot at a shutout. Nevertheless, the shutout then disappeared when he gave up a solo home run to Melvin Mora.

But, the Yankees still finished with a win, the final score 5-1, and Mariano Rivera picked up his 37th save of the season, as Pettitte received his 12th win of the season.

Following the game, there is no doubt Pettitte would have said that the win is all that matters as they go down the stretch towards the playoffs, and that he is happy he pitched well enough to get the win.

But, everyone else knows what Andy Pettitte was actually thinking, and he knew something special could have happened.

With the win, the New York Yankees move to six-and-a-half games ahead of the Boston Red Sox, and they will play the Baltimore Orioles again tomorrow with AJ Burnett scheduled to face off against David Hernandez.