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Pettitte eyes repeat performance vs. Jays

Pettitte eyes repeat performance

TORONTO -- The Yankees couldn't do too much complaining on Friday while watching Roy Halladay pitch a gem. Andy Pettitte had shown them just how much fun it was from the other side.

Pettitte will head back to the hill on Saturday for the first time since launching a serious no-hit bid at the Orioles on Monday, carrying a perfect game through 6 2/3 innings before losing the bid on a Jerry Hairston Jr. error.

The next batter, Nick Markakis, rocketed a single down the third-base line, but that didn't spoil the evening for Pettitte. The left-hander went on to win that start and has stepped up as one of the Yankees' most reliable rotation arms in the second half.

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"It feels good to be healthy," Pettitte said. "It feels good that my elbow after the surgery doesn't hurt any more when I pitch, and obviously, at this time last year, my shoulder was absolutely killing me.

"It just feels good to feel healthy and be in a good rhythm. Like I've said before, I just hope that I can hold it for another two months, hopefully. That's the goal right now."

Pettitte has always been a trusted veteran stalwart, especially as the Yankees work toward the postseason, but the fact that he is continuing to keep those results rolling at age 37 makes it more remarkable.

In a rotation where A.J. Burnett has struggled of late and Joba Chamberlain is continuing to battle the "Rules" of his innings limitations, having Pettitte slotted among the top of a potential playoff rotation must be exceptionally comforting.

"I think he's getting stronger and getting healthy," Yankees catcher Jorge Posada said. "The weather is helping. He's really getting ahead of the hitters -- and I think that's the main thing -- with a good breaking ball and a good cutter. He's always been good in the second half."

Pitching matchup
NYY: LHP Andy Pettitte (12-6, 4.03 ERA)
Pettitte turned in one of the best performances of his career on Monday at Baltimore, retiring the first 20 Orioles to face him in a breezy effort before a Hairston error allowed Adam Jones to reach base. A Markakis single ended the no-hit bid, but Pettitte gladly settled for eight innings of one-run ball and a two-hit effort, also allowing a Melvin Mora solo homer while walking none and striking out eight. Pettitte last faced Toronto on Aug. 4 at Rogers Centre and was a 5-3 winner, limiting the Blue Jays to one run on four hits in 6 2/3 innings.

TOR: LHP Brett Cecil (6-3, 5.42 ERA)
This was originally going to be Cecil's final start of the season, but Toronto manager Cito Gaston has decided to give Cecil one more start following this one. The reason is because Cecil, a rookie, is coming off a tough start against the Rangers on Monday. He allowed seven runs on nine hits over five innings. Cecil, though, still earned the victory, as the Blue Jays jumped out to an 11-run lead and held on for a wild 18-10 victory. In his only career start against the Yankees earlier this season, Cecil left after only 3 2/3 innings, allowing seven runs on nine hits.

Tidbits
Over his past 20 games, Posada has scored 13 runs and driven in 23 runs, batting .329 (27-for-82) with eight doubles and seven homers over the stretch. He has 13 RBIs over his past seven contests. ... Through the first 135 games of the season, the Yankees have scored a Major League-leading 773 runs and are averaging 5.72 runs per game in 2009 after averaging 4.87 runs per game in '08. ... Phil Hughes owns a 1.14 ERA in 31 relief appearances this season, holding opponents scoreless in 28 of those outings. He has not allowed a run over his past 10 outings (10 innings). ... Yankees left-hander Mike Dunn made his Major League debut on Friday, allowing two earned runs and three walks in two-thirds of an inning.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• YES

On radio
• WCBS 880, 92.7 WQBU (Español)

Up next
• Sunday: Yankees (Sergio Mitre, 3-1, 5.65) at Blue Jays (Brian Tallet, 5-9, 5.17), 1:07 p.m. ET
• Monday: Yankees (A.J. Burnett, 10-8, 4.29) vs. Rays (Andy Sonnanstine, 6-8, 6.62), 1:05 p.m. ET
• Monday: Yankees (CC Sabathia, 16-7, 3.48) vs. Rays (Matt Garza, 7-9, 4.01), 7:05 p.m. ET

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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