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Yankees win in Sabathia’s return, 8-4 over Tigers


DETROIT (AP) CC Sabathia was grateful to be back on the mound in a regular-season game – even if it meant having to pitch in subfreezing temperatures.

“It was nice to be in a stadium with a third deck again,” he said. “That’s when you know the games count.”

Sabathia pitched into the seventh inning for New York, and Alex Rodriguez and Carlos Beltran homered in the cold to lift the Yankees to an 8-4 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Saturday. It was Sabathia’s first start in a real game since missing the postseason last year while undergoing alcohol rehabilitation. He pitched for New York during spring training but not very well.

In this one, Sabathia (1-0) allowed three runs and four hits in six-plus innings, walking four and striking out three. He retired the first nine batters he faced and had only one really messy stretch, in the fourth.

The temperature at game time was 31 degrees, the coldest in Comerica Park history, according to STATS LLC.

“It’s not great weather conditions to pitch, but I think CC’s such a competitor, that’s what it tells me,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “He really wants to be out there, really relishes being out there.”

Since switching to a tighter knee brace in September, Sabathia is 3-1 with a 2.57 ERA in six starts.

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.

Mike Pelfrey (0-1) allowed six runs and eight hits in 3 2/3 innings in his first start for the Tigers after signing with Detroit in the offseason.

There were snowflakes floating above the field shortly before the game, but that wasn’t much of a factor after the first pitch. 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. Detroit’s season-opening three-game winning streak came to an end.

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.

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Cardinals beat Brewers, both clinch postseason berths

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ST. LOUIS (AP) Harrison Bader tripled and homered to help the St. Louis Cardinals clinch a postseason berth on the final day of the regular season with a 5-2 win over Milwaukee, and the Brewers also earned a playoff spot Sunday via help on the West Coast moments later.

St. Louis (30-28) will be the fifth seed in the NL and open a three-game wild-card series at San Diego on Wednesday. By winning, the Cardinals avoided having to travel to Detroit for two makeup games Monday. St. Louis finished the regular season with 23 games in 18 days as it made up a slew of postponements caused by a coronavirus outbreak in the clubhouse.

“You had to throw some of the expectations out the window not knowing what to expect after taking those couple weeks off and all those doubleheaders and so many new guys,” Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt said. “It was very different, very fulfilling to make the playoffs.”

The Brewers (29-31) locked up the eighth seed and a third consecutive postseason berth after the Padres beat San Francisco 5-4 in a game that ended about 15 minutes after St. Louis’ victory. The Giants finished with an identical record as the Brewers but lost out on a tiebreaker due to an inferior intradivision record.

“It’s fitting for 2020 and everything we went through,” Brewers left fielder Christian Yelich said. “It felt just as good as past years. This year’s a unique one. There’s so many challenges we had to go through on a daily basis behind the scenes, things you don’t deal with in a normal year.”

Milwaukee will face the top-seeded Dodgers in Los Angeles in a three-game series that also starts Wednesday.

The Brewers haven’t had a winning record at any point this season. Milwaukee and Houston will be the first teams ever to qualify for the playoffs with a losing mark.

“It’s a celebration,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “We’re in the playoffs. That’s how you see it. There’s no reason to apologize for getting into the playoffs.”

Cardinals starter Austin Gomber allowed one run, one hit and two walks and struck out three over four innings.

Giovanny Gallegos (2-0), Genesis Cabrera and Alex Reyes combined to pitch the final five innings. Reyes got his first save.

“We’d have been happy getting in as the eight seed,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. “We’d have been happy being the one seed, but people can say we got in if there was no expanded playoffs so that’s even another feather in this group’s cap.”

Brett Anderson (4-4) surrendered a triple to Bader and a walk to Tyler O'Neill to start the third inning before departing with a blister on his left index finger. Anderson opened the season on the injured list with a blister on the same finger and did not make his debut until Aug. 3.

Freddy Peralta replaced him a day after being activated from the paternity list, and O’Neill promptly stole second. Kolten Wong then hit a line drive off Peralta’s leg that Peralta threw into right field to score Bader and O’Neill.

Paul Goldschmidt and Paul DeJong each added RBI singles to push the St. Louis lead to 4-0.

After Milwaukee scored in the top of the fifth, Bader hit his fifth home run of the season.

“That was a big counterpunch,” Shildt said of Bader. “Got them on their heels again.”


Yadier Molina grounded into a triple play in the eighth inning when he hit a one hop grounder to Jace Peterson at third base in the eighth inning. It was Milwaukee’s first triple play since Sept. 23, 2016, when Cincinnati’s Joey Votto lined out to first base. Molina was also the last Cardinals player to hit into a triple play when he grounded out to third base at Boston on Aug. 15, 2017.


Brewers: Counsell said it was too early to prognosticate Anderson’s status after departing with the blister.

Cardinals: St. Louis president of baseball operations John Mozeliak announced that RHP Dakota Hudson will have Tommy John surgery on his right elbow Monday. Hudson went 3-2 with a 2.77 ERA in eight starts before leaving his start on Sept. 17 at Pittsburgh with right elbow discomfort after two innings.


Brewers: The Brewers head to Los Angeles and will likely be without two of their top starters in Anderson and Corbin Burnes, who sustained a left oblique injury on Thursday.

Cardinals: This will be the fourth postseason series between St. Louis and San Diego, who faced each other in 1996, 2005, and 2006 in the Division Series.