NEW YORK – For the second day in a row, a New York Yankees starter left early with an injury. This time, it will hurt.

Andy Pettitte strained his left groin Sunday and is expected to miss at least a month, the bad news for the Yankees on a day when they knocked around All-Star starter David Price and got a brilliant effort from their bullpen in a 9-5 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Right-hander Sergio Mitre, who has been on the disabled list since June 15 with a strained muscle on his left side, is expected to take Pettitte’s spot in the rotation Saturday against Kansas City.

Robinson Cano hit a two-run triple, Jorge Posada had a two-run double and Alex Rodriguez added his 598th home run for the Yankees, who took two of three in a series between the top two teams in baseball to move three games ahead of Tampa Bay in the AL East.