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TB@NYY: Pettitte breaks down start in loss vs. Rays

Andy Pettitte, locked in a struggle to rediscover his early-season form, will look to secure a series victory against the Rangers on Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium.

New York took Tuesday's opener, its third win in four games. That stopped a five-game winning streak for the Rangers.

"They are the New York Yankees," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "When they put on that uniform, they still expect to win. They may be lacking in some areas, but they still find a way to win. They pitch, they catch the ball and when they have a lead, they know how to shut it down."

Pettitte (5-5, 4.20 ERA) got off to a strong start to the season at age 41, but over his past eight outings, he is 2-4 with a 5.40 ERA, and opponents have hit .290 against him. The left-hander owns a 4.91 mark in four games since coming off the disabled list on June 3.

On Thursday, Pettitte surrendered five runs on nine hits in 6 2/3 innings against Tampa Bay, although he struck out six and walked one.

"I just need to be better," Pettitte said afterward. "I need to shut these guys down once in a while and give us a chance to score first one time instead of always being in a hole. And I feel like I'm putting us in a hole every time out right now."

Pettitte's counterpart will be 24-year-old rookie Justin Grimm (6-5, 5.57 ERA), who also has fallen on some hard times of late. The righty, pitching against the Yankees for the first time, has produced a 9.90 ERA in his four outings this month. Over 20 innings, he has allowed 25 hits -- including five homers -- and 11 walks, with opposing batters touching him up for a 1.004 OPS.

On Wednesday, Grimm held Oakland to three runs on three hits, although he also walked three in five innings of work.

Thus far, Grimm hasn't experienced much success away from Rangers Ballpark. Although he is 2-3 in seven road starts, his road ERA sits as 7.01.

"I just need to watch [Yu] Darvish pitch tonight, first," Grimm said of the Rangers' Tuesday starter. "Just go at 'em, basically. Be competitive, be myself. Stay within myself. It is my first time pitching at Yankee Stadium, I'm pretty excited about that, but for me, it's just another start against a very good team."

Yankees: Surgery looms for Teixeira
First baseman Mark Teixeira could be facing season-ending surgery after having his ailing right wrist evaluated by team doctors on Tuesday. Teixeira began the year on the disabled list after partially tearing the tendon sheath in his wrist and didn't come back until May 31, hitting .151 in 15 games before going back on the DL.

He has not responded well to a cortisone injection he received on June 16, which was supposed to help tame inflammation in the wrist. The switch-hitting Teixeira has said the injury mostly affects him from the left side of the plate.

Rangers: Leaning on young arms
Grimm isn't the only rookie pitcher the Rangers have inserted into their rotation. Nick Tepesch is 3-6 with a 4.60 ERA in 14 starts, while Martin Perez is 1-1 with a 3.65 ERA in two outings.

All three rookies are age 24 or younger, and Texas has needed them because of injuries that have hampered some of its more veteran options.

"They've done a good job holding down the staff while guys are on the disabled list," Washington said. "But if you're going to be on this team, the expectation is to win. We're going to stay with these guys through thick and thin."

Worth noting
• Pettitte and Rangers designated hitter Lance Berkman now have played in a combined 33 Major League seasons, including three as teammates with the Astros. They have only faced off in one regular-season game, when the Astros and Yankees played in 2010. Berkman went 0-for-3.

• Rangers center fielder Leonys Martin extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a pair of home runs on Tuesday and improved to 15-for-34 during that stretch. Comments