Yankees beat Tigers in Sabathia's return

Posted at 5:26 PM, Apr 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-09 21:56:08-04
DETROIT (AP) -- The back end of Detroit's starting rotation was a trouble spot last year, and the Tigers signed Mike Pelfrey in the offseason hoping he could help.
His first start with his new team left a lot to be desired.
Pelfrey couldn't make it out of the fourth inning Saturday in Detroit's 8-4 loss to the New York Yankees, which ended the Tigers' season-opening three-game winning streak.
"Definitely not the way I wanted to start my Tigers career. I'll take the blame for today. Obviously, I let these guys down, and put us in a big hole early," Pelfrey said. "I was all over the place. I didn't do a whole lot of things to be successful today."
Pelfrey (0-1) allowed six runs and eight hits in 3 2/3 innings. CC Sabathia pitched into the seventh in his return for New York, and Alex Rodriguez and Carlos Beltran homered.
The temperature at game time was 31 degrees, the coldest in Comerica Park history, according to STATS LLC.
Sabathia (1-0) allowed three runs and four hits in six-plus innings in his first start since missing the postseason last year while undergoing alcohol rehabilitation. He retired the first nine batters he faced and had only one really messy stretch, in the fourth. Rodriguez gave the Yankees a 1-0 lead in the first with his 688th career homer, and Beltran hit a two-run shot in the fifth.
There were snowflakes floating above the field shortly before the game, but that wasn't much of a factor after the first pitch. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said beforehand that he hoped Sabathia could give the team six innings, and the big left-hander did just that. He was given a nice lead to work with by the New York offense.
The Yankees led 6-0 after a four-run fourth highlighted by Jacoby Ellsbury's three-run triple. Sabathia loaded the bases on walks in the bottom of the inning and gave up James McCann's two-run single -- the first Detroit hit. Mike Aviles lined out to deep left with the bases loaded to end that rally.
Beltran's homer made it 8-2. Sabathia pitched to one batter in the seventh, allowing a single before being taken out of the game at 90 pitches. The Tigers went on to score two runs in the inning, but they couldn't cut any further into New York's lead after that.
The previous coldest game-time temperature at Comerica was 36 degrees on April 23, 2015.
New York's Starlin Castro had two hits, including the 1,000th of his career.
Sabathia said it means a lot to be back, especially with his mom and wife at the game.
"They had it easy," he said. "They were in a heated suite while I was out there in that. The guys in here and the organization have been great, but my wife and my mom have been my rocks."
Detroit manager Brad Ausmus was ejected in the top of the fifth for arguing balls and strikes. He said his issues with plate umpire Paul Emmel began the previous inning, when J.D. Martinez was called out on strikes in a big spot.
"I thought that was ball four and I was a little irritated. Paul is doing his best. He's not trying to miss any calls, and quite honestly I couldn't tell if he did miss the call that I am upset about," Ausmus said. "It was warmer in here, but I'd rather have been out there."
Yankees: Chase Headley was given a day off, with 3B Ronald Torreyes replacing him in the starting lineup. Torreyes had three hits.
Tigers: OF Cameron Maybin (left wrist) went 1 for 4 with a double as a DH for Class-A Lakeland on Friday night as part of his rehab assignment.
Yankees: New York sends RHP Masahiro Tanaka (0-0) to the mound against Detroit on Sunday night. Tanaka received a no-decision in his first start of the season against Houston.
Tigers: Justin Verlander (0-0) makes his second start of the season. He's 5-7 with a 4.03 ERA in 17 starts against the Yankees.