Rest benefits three Yanks who support CC

That day of rest Friday paid off for Alex Rodriguez, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran Saturday. The trio combined for five hits in 12 at-bats (.417), including two home runs, in the Yankees’ 8-4 victory over a Detroit team that had shut them out on three hits Friday. Six of the Yankees’ runs were scored by one of three aging veterans who were on the bench the day before.

Those booming bats proved comforting to CC Sabathia, who was perfect through three innings and had a 6-0 lead by the fourth. Sabathia was the first Yankees starting pitcher to take the ball into the seventh inning this year. Manager Joe Girardi decided not to push the big guy any further after the lefthander gave up a leadoff single in the seventh on his 90th pitch.

No longer the overpowering pitcher he was back when he was winning the American League Cy Young Award, Sabathia relied on cut fastballs and sliders to get through the Tigers’ deep lineup with a bevy of right-handed pop. CC did walk four batters after the Yankees had not issued a free pass the previous two games. He had a tough fourth inning when Detroit used three walks and two singles to score two runs. The Tigers got the first two batters on base in the fifth, but Sabathia defused the rally as he initiated a double play on a comebacker by Justin Upton and then retired Miguel Cabrera on another ground ball.

Sabathia was encouraged toward the end of last season when he was 2-1 with a 2.17 ERA in his final five starts pitching with a new brace on his troublesome right knee. However, his spring training was nothing tonight home about (1-3, 5.51 ERA) as he barely beat out Ivan Nova for the fifth starter’s spot. Sabathia’s effort Saturday was a positive sign that he can still batters out despite a noted drop in velocity.

Rodriguez gave CC a lead before he took the mound with an impressive home run to center field with two out in the first inning off Mike Pelfrey, the off-season, free-agent acquisition who pitched poorly in his first outing for the Tigers (six earned runs and eight hits in 3 2/3 innings). It was career homer No.688 for Rodriguez, who had homered in his first at-bat in the spring but did not go deep again after that until Saturday.

McCann continued his career success against Pelfrey with a leadoff single in the second and came around to score on a two-out single by Didi Gregorius. McCann walked in the fourth and was again driven home by Gregorius, this time on a sacrifice fly. In 43 career at-bats against Pelfrey, McCann has batted .465 with eight doubles, two home runs and seven walks. Much of their history dates to their years in the National League East when McCann was with the Braves and Pelfrey the Mets.

A bases-loaded triple later in the fourth by Jacoby Ellsbury spelled the end for Pelfrey. McCann got his second single of the game with one down in the fifth and scored on Beltran’s second home run of the season, a jolting blow to right-center off reliever Buck Farmer.

It was certainly a much stronger lineup the  Tigers faced Saturday than Friday. Starlin Castro bounced back from a 0-for-4 game Friday with two hits Saturday, including career No. 1,000 on a single in the seventh. Ronald Torreys got a start at third base and had three singles to raise his batting average to .800.

Yes, it is April.

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