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Astros-Yankees Preview

AP - Sports

Andy Pettitte just failed to reach a personal milestone.

The 40-year-old, though, made New York Yankees history the last time he faced the Houston Astros.

Pettitte will pitch against the only other major league team he's played for on Monday night when the Yankees go for a fifth straight win.

Trying to post victories in each of his first four starts for the first time, Pettitte (3-1, 2.22 ERA) gave up all of the runs in Wednesday's 3-0 loss at Tampa Bay. The left-hander, though, fanned 10 in six innings for his 15th double-digit strikeout game.

"I was surprised we got three runs off him. I thought this guy is not going to give anything up tonight,'' Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "... He was pretty impressive.''

Pettitte will go down as one of the greatest pitchers in Yankees history, but he hasn't always worn pinstripes. After helping New York win four World Series, he signed with the Astros in 2004. Playing near his home in Deer Park, Pettitte went 37-26 with a 3.38 ERA in three seasons with Houston before returning to the Bronx.

In the Astros' first game at new Yankee Stadium on June 11, 2010, Pettitte went 7 1-3 innings in a 4-3 victory that made him the third pitcher in Yankees history to reach 200 wins, joining Whitey Ford and Red Ruffing.

New York swept that three-game series to improve to 8-1 versus Houston.

The AL-worst Astros (7-18) don't appear to be in any position to improve that mark as they arrive in the Bronx on a nine-game road losing streak. The AL's newest team was outscored 28-10 in a four-game set in Boston over the weekend, going 5 for 38 (.132) with runners in scoring position.

"I know we're struggling right now, but we have to make some adjustments," outfielder Fernando Martinez told the Astros' official website following Sunday's 6-1 loss. "We'll be fine."

Lucas Harrell (2-2, 4.08) has been Houston's most consistent starter so far, giving up two runs or fewer in four of his five outings. He held the opposition to one for a third time Wednesday against Seattle, matching the Astros' longest start of the season by going seven innings in a 10-3 win.

"Strike one was huge today. My goal was to attack and get strike one," Harrell said.

The right-hander's lone experience against the Yankees (15-9) came when he recorded two outs for the White Sox in June 2010.

With Kevin Youkilis set to undergo an MRI on Monday for a back injury that's kept him out of six of the last seven games, Harrell could get his first look at Lyle Overbay, who hit a two-run homer on Sunday.

Another first-year Yankee, Brennan Boesch - who is 4 for 4 off Harrell - also went deep as the injury-plagued Yankees won for the ninth time in 11 home games.

"We've seen very good players come to New York and take time to adjust," manager Joe Girardi said. "We've seen guys that have injury plagued seasons that continue to have them and you can't shake that. We felt that we were going to have to win a lot of close games.''

The Yankees are 9-1 in games decided by two runs or fewer.

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