Tigers blanked in the Bronx
NEW YORK (AP) -- The only play Mike Pelfrey needed the Detroit outfield to make, it didn't.
Didi Gregorius sliced a bases-loaded, two-out drive over left fielder Justin Upton for a double to cap a three-run burst in the first inning, and that doomed the Tigers in a 4-0 loss to the New York Yankees on Friday night.
It was an odd game, statistically: Tigers outfielders did not catch a single fly ball. No putouts, but one assist when Upton recovered to make a relay that nailed a runner at the plate.
"I was playing him shallow," Upton said. "Off the bat, I didn't think it would get over my head. I froze, and then the wind picked it up and took it, and I couldn't catch up to it."
The Tigers began a 10-game trip by losing for the second straight time following a five-game winning streak. Behind seven sharp innings from CC Sabathia, the Yankees won their fifth straight.
Pelfrey (1-6) quickly ran into trouble in his first outing since stopping an 18-start winless streak. He settled down fast and pitched into the seventh inning.
"I tried to keep battling, try to keep us in the game. Obviously, didn't start off the way I wanted with three runs in the first. That ended up being the ballgame," he said.
"Didn't make pitches in the first. Walked guys, walked a guy in. Pretty embarrassing to do that. But I thought I got better after that. By the end, it wasn't good enough," he said.
The Yankees (31-30) moved over .500 for the first time since they were 4-3. Detroit fell back to break-even at 30-30.
Sabathia (4-4) gave up five singles, walked two and struck out four. He hasn't allowed more than two runs in his last six starts and left with a 2.28 ERA -- the lowest he's ever had after 10 starts or more in any season.
Coming back from a year plagued by problems on and off the field, Sabathia beat Detroit for the second time this season. The 35-year-old lefty improved to 21-13 against the Tigers -- among active pitchers, only Seattle ace Felix Hernandez, who is 22-8 vs. Oakland, has beaten an opponent more often.
Sabathia escaped his biggest jam by getting Miguel Cabrera to ground into an inning-ending double with two runners on in the fifth.
Relievers Dellin Betances and Anthony Swarzak each threw an inning to complete the combined shutout.
The Yankees loaded the bases with one out in the first and Brian McCann drew a four-pitch walk. Gregorius doubled for a 3-0 lead, with Brian McCann thrown out at the plate trying to score from first.
Gardner walked, took two bases on catcher James McCann's errant pickoff throw and scored on Beltran's single in the third. Beltran drove in 10 runs during a four-game sweep of the Angels before this series.
AROUND THE BASES
Cabrera had his 10-game hitting streak come to an end. ... The Tigers were shut out for the fifth time this year, all on the road. ... Ian Kinsler led off the game with a 12-pitch at-bat. He fouled off six straight full-count pitches, then tossed aside his bat and headed to first thinking he'd walked, only to be called out on strike three.
Tigers: CF Cameron Maybin returned to the lineup after missing two starts with a sore left wrist and went 1 for 4. He broke the wrist in spring training, and got a cortisone shot this week.
Yankees: 1B Chris Parmelee is expected to miss at least a month after straining his right hamstring stretching for a throw Thursday night. He joined Mark Teixeira, Greg Bird and Dustin Ackley as Yankees first basemen on the DL.
Tigers: RHP Justin Verlander (5-5, 3.97) is 0-4 with a 4.84 ERA in seven starts at the new Yankee Stadium. Rodriguez has five home runs in 38 career at-bats vs. Verlander.
Yankees: RHP Masahiro Tanaka (3-1, 2.76) has given up two or fewer earned runs in 10 of his 12 starts this season. J.D. Martinez has two homers and two doubles in six at-bats against Tanaka.