New York Yankees Recap: CC’s Quality Start, Bats Heat Up Detroit

Apr 9, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia (52) pitches in the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 9, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia (52) pitches in the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /

It was a brisk 31 degrees with snow flurries in the air at first pitch Saturday afternoon as the New York Yankees (2-2) took on the Detroit Tigers (3-0) in Game two of the first weekend series of the season.  On the mound for the Yankees was CC Sabathia who is primed for a comeback year in 2016 for New York.  He faced off against Mike Pelfrey, pitching for the Tigers.

After an opening strikeout by Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner reached on a single, but was thrown out attempting to steal second base.  Despite getting caught stealing and two strikeouts, the Yankees were able to take an early 1-0 lead over Detroit on a solo home-run to left-center by Alex Rodriguez.  Sabathia looked good in the bottom of the first, getting a ground-out, a fly out and a strikeout.

Brian McCann, who has a lifetime OPS of 1.317 against Pelfrey, led off the second inning with a base hit.  He was able to advance to second on a wild pitch, to third on a ground ball, and scored on a bloop single to left by Didi Gregorius, giving the Yankees a 2-0 lead heading into the bottom of the second inning.

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In the fourth, McCann drew a walk and Carlos Beltran singled to the opposite field to beat the shift.  Starlin Castro followed, reaching on a liner to right that was dropped by J.D. Martinez, again loading the bases for the Yankees.  McCann scored on a sacrifice fly to left by Gregorius giving him his second RBI of the day and increasing the Yankee lead to 3-0.  Ronald Torreyes again loaded the bases for the Yankees on an infield single.

After starting the season 4-for-18, Ellsbury finally came through with a three-run triple to deep left-center, breaking the Yankee lead wide open to 6-0.  Unfortunately the rest of the game, aside from the triple, he continued to struggle at the plate, going 1-for-5.

After a long Yankees half of the inning, Sabathia came out and gave up three walks, loading the bases for Detroit in the bottom of the fourth.  After a huge strikeout to Martinez, James McCann was able to take advantage of a pitch over the heart of a plate, singling to left and driving in two runs, cutting the Yankee lead to 6-2.  Jose Iglesias singled to again load the bases for the Tigers, but Sabathia got out of the inning on a deep fly ball.

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The Bronx Bombers quickly responded in the fifth as Beltran crushed a two-run homer to right field following a lead-off single by McCann, extending the Yankee lead back to six at 8-2.

Sabathia gave up a lead-off single to Iglesias in the sixth, which ended his day for New York.  He was replaced by Kirby Yates who gave up a single (E7) to Mike Aviles, which allowed him to advance to second.  Iglesias scored on a wild pitch during the next at-bat, cutting the Yankees lead to 8-3.  Aviles advanced to third, later scoring on an Ian Kinsler ground out.  Yankees lead 8-4.  After a two-out double to Justin Upton, Joe Girardi went to the bullpen for the second time in the inning, bringing in Chasen Shreve to close out the inning.

A Yankees starting pitcher made it six full innings for the first time this season.  That man being CC Sabathia against one of the most potent offenses in the American League.  Aside from a shaky fourth, Sabathia pitched very well in his first start of 2016.  He gave up three runs on four hits over six innings, striking out three, walking four and earning a win in the process.  Pelfrey gave up six runs on eight hits over three and two-thirds innings for the Tigers.

New York Yankees
Apr 9, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Yankees shortstop Starlin Castro (14) hits a single in the fourth inning against the New York Yankees at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /

The Yankees as a whole tore the cover off the ball on Saturday, ending with 14 hits.  We also saw Castro hit a career milestone on Saturday afternoon, getting his 1,000th hit of his career.  At the time his 1,000th hit, he was 26 years and 16 days old.  Another Yankee who had his 1,000th career hit at that age?  Derek Jeter who was 26 years and 94 days old.

The score did not change from the sixth inning on.  Dellin Betances came in for the eighth, again looking sharp and striking out two batters.  Andrew Miller came on in the ninth to finish the game, earning the Yankees an 8-4 win over the Tigers.

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On Sunday night, the Yankees look to win their second series of the season in their rubber match with the Tigers.  Masahiro Tanaka (0-0, 3.18 ERA) will be on the mound for New York against Detroit’s Justin Verlander (0-0, 4.50 ERA).  First pitch is scheduled for 8:10 p.m. ET.