DENVER (AP) - Andy Pettitte has never lost to the Colorado Rockies, but his only visit to Coors Field might still haunt him.
The New York Yankees' left-hander tries to win back-to-back starts for the first time this season Wednesday when he takes the mound against the Rockies.
Pettitte is 2-0 with a 2.29 ERA in three career starts against Colorado, but was roughed up in his only visit to Denver on June 19, 2002, in his first stint with New York. He allowed eight runs and eight hits - including two home runs - while walking three and failing to record a strikeout in 3 2-3 innings.
The Yankees, though, bailed him out by defeating Colorado 20-10 in that contest. After leaving New York following the 2003 season to sign with his hometown Houston Astros, Pettitte pitched 16 scoreless innings to win two starts against the Rockies at Minute Maid Park.
Pettitte (4-4, 2.93 ERA) will now try to stifle Colorado at Coors Field and win two straight starts for the first time this year. He won for the first time since May 23 in his last outing, allowing one run and four hits in eight innings to defeat Arizona 7-1 on Thursday - one day before his 35th birthday. "It's nice, there's no doubt," Pettitte told the Yankees' official Web site. "At certain points, you want to get a little 'personality win.' The team has been winning the last couple of starts even though I haven't been winning, so that makes you feel a lot better."
The Yankees (35-33) have certainly been feeling better about themselves the past few weeks despite Tuesday's 3-1 loss to Colorado. New York was a season-high eight games below .500 on May 29, but has since gone 14-4 and trails first-place Boston by nine games in the AL East.
With Jason Giambi and Doug Mientkiewicz both on the disabled list, catcher Jorge Posada made his 12th career start at first base Tuesday. The Yankees, though, recalled Andy Phillips from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and he will start at first Wednesday.
"I think we're going to put him out there sort of regularly, give him regular work, let's put it that way," Yankees manager Joe Torre said of Phillips, who lined out as a pinch-hitter Tuesday and came in to play first before being replaced there by Johnny Damon - who made his second career appearance at the position.
Colorado (36-34) is playing just as well as New York. The Rockies, who have won a club record-tying five straight series, were nine games below .500 on May 21 but improved to 18-7 since then with Tuesday's victory.
Jeff Francis (6-5, 3.61) will look to continue his recent strong pitching when he starts for Colorado in the second game of this three-game series. The left-hander was 1-4 with a 6.19 ERA in his first six outings, but has gone 5-1 with a 1.93 ERA in his last eight starts.
Francis pitched five scoreless innings at Boston on Thursday, allowing seven hits and striking out six in beating the Red Sox 7-1.
"I've just got to try to do what I do and hope, like today, we score a lot of runs," said Francis, who is 3-5 with a 4.33 ERA in 10 interleague starts but has never faced the Yankees. "If we can score them early, I can get into a rhythm."
New York is 5-2 all-time against the Rockies.
This series concludes Thursday afternoon with Roger Clemens making his third start of the season for the Yankees against Colorado right-hander Rodrigo Lopez.
(Copyright Associated Press, All Rights Reserved)
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