Detroit, MI (SportsNetwork.com) - The Detroit Tigers beat CC Sabathia in his best outing of the season to remain the top team in baseball.
J.D. Martinez and Yoenis Cespedes delivered RBI singles off Sabathia in the seventh inning and the Tigers turned a key double play to escape with a 2-1 win over the New York Yankees in the opener of a four-game series on Monday.
Sabathia (0-3) allowed four baserunners over the first six innings but faced the minimum 18 batters because of three double plays and one pickoff.
The Tigers finally put together a rally with three singles in the seventh, including the RBI hits by Martinez and Cespedes.
"That lineup is tough. It should be illegal," Sabathia said. "Once you think it's done, they have more hitters coming."
Tigers starter Alfredo Simon (3-0) had seven strikeouts but was taken out after giving up singles to Chase Headley and Didi Gregorius in the eighth, putting runners at the corners with one out.
Joba Chamberlain, the former Yankees reliever, ended the threat with two pitches, getting Jacoby Ellsbury to ground into a double play to second base.
Joakim Soria threw a 1-2-3 ninth inning to pick up his fifth save.
A loss would have dropped the Tigers (11-2) into a tie with the New York Mets for the best record in baseball.
"We're doing a good job early in the season and we just hope to keep rolling," Victor Martinez, the Detroit designated hitter, said.
Mark Teixeira homered for the Yankees, who were coming off a three-game sweep of Tampa Bay.
Simon's ERA dipped to 1.74 for the season. In his first home start for the Tigers, he surrendered one run, seven hits and no walks and picked up his first career win against the Yankees in eight games, including five starts.
Sabathia earned his first complete game since July 9, 2013, but took his third consecutive loss to start the season. This one was better than the others. The former Cy Young winner gave up eight earned runs over 12 2/3 innings in losses to Toronto and Baltimore.
Teixeira led off the second inning with his fourth homer of the season for New York's only run, reaching out to pull a low 0-2 pitch over the right-center field wall.
The teams had seven hits each ... Brian McCann's double two batters after Teixeira's homer in the second inning was the only other extra-base hit in the game ... Sabathia is 19-13 in 37 career starts against Detroit -- the most he has faced any team ... The game was completed in 2 hours and 20 minutes.