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Sabathia, Yankees begin set against Rays

(Sports Network) - CC Sabathia has found his groove.

The left-handed ace of the New York Yankees aims for his fourth straight winning start Monday in the opener of a three-game series versus the AL East- rival Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.

Sabathia was roughed up in his season debut, but has since bounced back with a 3-0 record and a 1.57 earned run average in his last three outings. The big southpaw tossed eight innings in last Wednesday's 4-3 win over Arizona and allowed three runs with six strikeouts and one walk. He has fanned at least four batters in every start this season.

In 29 career starts against the Rays, Sabathia is 10-9 with a 3.19 ERA over 206 innings pitched. He is 3-5 in 14 starts at Tropicana Field.

The Yankees were rolling until they fell short in their quest of a three-game at Toronto with Sunday's 8-4 setback. Ivan Nova drew the start and wasn't so sharp, allowing four runs and seven hits in five innings. Boone Logan gave up a run to take the loss and David Phelps tossed the last three innings and was reached for three runs and three hits, including a home run.

"I know I can do better than this," said Nova. "I have to keep working and get my command where I want it to."

Chris Stewart went 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBI, while Brett Gardner, Robinson Cano, Vernon Wells and Jayson Nix all finished with two hits apiece for New York, which had won nine of 11 games.

Yankees third baseman Kevin Youkilis left Saturday's game with a balky back and did not play in Sunday's loss. He could make a return Monday down south against the Rays and is batting .295 with two homers and nine RBI.

"I just want to try to clear it up if we can," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said on the club's website. "It's good that he feels a lot better, that's a positive thing for us."

Rays scheduled starter Matt Moore has won each of his three starts this season and looks to make it a fourth when the Yankees invade the Trop. Moore is 3-0 with a 1.00 earned run average in three starts and last toed the rubber in a 6-2 win at Baltimore last Wednesday.

Moore held the Orioles to a season-high two runs and five hits with seven strikeouts and three walks in a season-high 6 2/3 innings. The young left- hander won his only home start on April 5 versus Cleveland and is 2-2 with a 5.06 ERA in four career starts against New York.

The Rays are coming off a three-game weekend sweep of the Oakland Athletics and posted an 8-1 triumph on Sunday. Yunel Escobar homered and collected three hits and two RBI, while Ryan Roberts recorded two hits, two runs and drove in a run for Tampa Bay, which has won four of five games.

Roberto Hernandez got the win by striking out seven and allowing only one run in six innings. Jake McGee and Brandon Gomes combined for three scoreless innings of relief.

Tampa Bay won 10 of the 18 matchups with New York last season and took seven of the nine encounters at Tropicana Field.

04/22 11:02:32 ET

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