Wilson outdid Pettitte with seven effective innings in a matchup of All-Star left-handers, Albert Pujols and Mark Trumbo each had three hits and Chris Iannetta singled home the go-ahead run, leading the Los Angeles Angels to a 5-2 victory over New York on Friday night.
Wilson (5-5) allowed two runs and five hits, struck out four and walked three while winning for only the second time in his last eight starts.
"A win's a win. I'll take a pretty win or an ugly win, or whatever," Wilson said. "I'm very motivated to pitch deep into the game, and pitching a lot of innings is really what separates the good pitchers from the really good pitchers. I'm just trying to get back up to that level where I feel like I deserve to be."
Ernesto Frieri followed Kevin Jepsen out of the bullpen and pitched a perfect ninth for his 15th save in 16 attempts, helping hand the Yankees their fourth straight loss following a three-game sweep at Oakland.
Pettitte (5-4) gave up four runs and 11 hits through seven innings on the eve of his 41st birthday. The three-time All-Star struck out four, increasing his total as a Yankee to 1,944 and putting him within 12 of Whitey Ford's franchise record.
"He's had a phenomenal career, and he's still going out there and striking guys out," Wilson said. "He's very durable and he throws a lot of innings. He hasn't always had the sparkling super-low ERA, but he's still got the craft. If you could swap places and have a career like he's had, you'd be really happy."
The game was tied 2-all when Pujols led off the sixth with a ground-rule double that landed just inside the right field line on the warning track. But he chugged into second on a sore left foot and surgically repaired right knee.
Trumbo followed with a single to left, and former Angel Vernon Wells made a perfect throw on the fly to catcher Austin Romine for the tag on the struggling Pujols as he made a headfirst slide into home.
Iannetta put Los Angeles ahead three batters later with an RBI single.
"Chris plays the game the right way," Wilson said. "He grinds out at-bats and never gives away an at-bat. Kids should watch the way he does it, even other guys on the team should watch him make the pitcher work." Wilson struck out the side in the seventh, and Peter Bourjos led off the bottom half with a towering popup that fell midway between shortstop Reid Brignac and rookie second baseman David Adams behind the bag for a base hit. Two outs later, Pujols singled and Trumbo singled home Bourjos for a 4-2 lead.
"It was frustrating," Pettitte said. "I felt pretty good, but my command definitely wasn't quite where I wanted it to be early on. That's a tough lineup over there with a lot of big strong right-handed hitters, and you've got to make quality pitches. I was just trying to be real aggressive with all of my pitches, hopefully get them to put the ball in play early -- and give us some length after that game yesterday."
The Yankees, coming off a draining 3-2 loss, 18-inning loss Thursday that took 5 hours and 35 minutes, didn't get their first hit until Robinson Cano bounced a single between third baseman Alberto Callaspo and the bag with two out in the fourth.
Wells' single put runners at the corners before Wilson walked just-promoted Thomas Neal to load the bases. Adams, getting a rare start at second base with Cano as the designated hitter, put New York ahead 2-1 with a two-run single that ended an 0-for-12 drought. A walk to Brignac loaded them up again, but Wilson minimized the damage by retiring Romine on a fielder's choice.
The Angels tied it in the bottom half on Iannetta's sacrifice fly. They got their first run on a first-inning RBI double by Howie Kendrick, who came in 4 for 24 against Pettitte. Kendrick is batting .402 over his last 28 games, and his .344 average against the Yankees since 2006 is the highest by any player with a minimum of 175 at-bats against them during that stretch.
Kendrick also came up big with the glove, robbing Adams of a hit in the sixth inning with a diving stop just to the right of second base and flipping to shortstop Erick Aybar to start an inning-ending double play.
Mike Trout ended the scoring with an RBI single in the eighth off former Angels reliever Chris Bootcheck, who was recalled from Triple-A on Friday. Bootcheck ended the inning by retiring Pujols on a first-pitch popup with the bases loaded after getting a visit from pitching coach Larry Rothschild.
- Three of the seven Yankees who played a defensive position through all 18 innings against Oakland weren't in the starting lineup for the opener of this three-game series -- RF Ichiro Suzuki, C Chris Stewart and 3B Kevin Youkilis, who went on the DL again Friday with a back problem. Cano started as DH for only the third time this season.
- Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, who is retiring at the end of this season, is making his final trip to the ballpark where he made his major league debut on May 23, 1995 -- in a starting role. The man who would become baseball's all-time saves leader struck out his first two batters that night at the "Big A," but allowed five runs in 3 1-3 innings.
- Wilson, who spent his first five big league seasons as a reliever, is two innings away from 1,000 for his career.
- Pettitte is 2-6 with a 5.75 ERA in his last 10 starts against the Angels. He has never had a complete game at Anaheim in 19 starts here.