DETROIT — CC Sabathia was grateful to be back in a regular-season game — even if it meant pitching 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 for the Yankees, and Alex Rodriguez and Carlos Beltran homered in the cold en route to an 8-4 victory over the Tigers on Saturday. It was Sabathia's first start in a real game since missing the postseason last year while going through alcohol rehabilitation. He pitched during spring training but not well.
In this one, Sabathia allowed three runs and four hits in six innings, walking four and striking out three. He retired the first nine batters and had only one 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. 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.