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NYY@TOR: Pettitte shuts down Toronto in return start

The Yankees avoided their first three-game losing streak of the season with Tuesday's comeback win over the Rays, and on Wednesday will look to win a series in a place that has caused them all sorts of trouble.

Left-hander Andy Pettitte takes the hill for the Yankees at Tropicana Field, where the Yankees have dropped 12 of their last 15 games. Righty Alex Cobb gets the ball for the Rays, who look to cap a difficult six-game homestand with a 5-1 mark.

Pettitte is looking to open a season with four straight wins for the first time in his 18-year career. The 40-year-old has been stellar thus far, throwing at least seven innings in each of his three starts.

He's also been successful against the Rays, with his 17 victories against Tampa Bay the most among active pitchers and third all-time, trailing only Tim Wakefield (21) and Mike Mussina (19).

Cobb, 25, is putting up impressive numbers early in his career. Not only has he proven to be a workhorse -- averaging a team-best seven innings per start -- he's also improving when it comes to in-game situations.

Cobb said after his most recent start, against Oakland, that he was better able to make adjustments as the game went along, learning from hitters' swings what was and wasn't working.

"Hitters will tell you everything you need to know," Cobb said. "Bullpen's fine and dandy, you'll be out there thinking your stuff is doing what it's supposed to be doing. But when you see hitters taking comfortable swings and making solid contact, you know something needs to be done."

Yankees: Youk still out
Third baseman Kevin Youkilis is not expected to play until at least Thursday because of a back injury sustained Monday during batting practice.

"He's better today than yesterday after it tightened up again, but if you put him out there again, it's probably going to do the same thing," manager Joe Girardi said on Tuesday. "So we've got to try to clear it up."

• Second baseman Robinson Cano is hitting .429 with eight doubles, six home runs and 14 RBIs in his last 13 games, nine of which have been multihit efforts.

• New York has committed 10 errors in its last 11 games after committing only two in the first eight.

Rays: Longo looks to pass Cantu
Third baseman Evan Longoria homered on Tuesday to reach base in his 20th straight game to open the season, tying him with Jorge Cantu (2005) for the second-longest streak in team history. Rocco Baldelli holds the record, having opened the 2003 campaign by reaching in his first 24 games.

Longoria's overall streak, which dates back to last season, is at 34 games. It's the third-longest stretch in club history, trailing Johnny Damon (39 in 2011) and Ben Grieve (37 in 2001).

• Tampa Bay's rotation is the only one to complete at least five innings in every game this season.

Worth noting
• The first 10,000 fans in attendance on Wednesday will receive a Joe Maddon Gnome, presented by Sun Sports.

• Tampa Bay's Ben Zobrist is a .368 career hitter against Pettitte, whereas Longoria has just two hits in 18 at-bats against the lefty.

• The Yankees are 7-0 when scoring first, compared with 4-8 when their opponents draw first blood.

• The Rays have homered in nine straight games, hitting 17 total.

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