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CC Sabathia shuts down Tigers as Yankees avoid sweep

  • Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander, right, talks with catcher Brayan Pena during the first inning of a baseball game against the New York Yankees in Detroit, Sunday, April 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

    Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander, right, talks with catcher Brayan Pena during the first inning of a baseball game against the New York Yankees in Detroit, Sunday, April 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) Purchase photo reprints »

  • New York Yankees' Jayson Nix (17) is congratulated by teammate Francisco Cervelli after they both scored on Nix's two-run home run during the second inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers in Detroit, Sunday, April 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

    New York Yankees' Jayson Nix (17) is congratulated by teammate Francisco Cervelli after they both scored on Nix's two-run home run during the second inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers in Detroit, Sunday, April 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) Purchase photo reprints »

  • New York Yankees designated hitter Travis Hafner breaks his bat during the third inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers in Detroit Sunday April 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

    New York Yankees designated hitter Travis Hafner breaks his bat during the third inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers in Detroit Sunday April 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander reacts after giving up a two-run home run to New York Yankees' Jayson Nix during the second inning of a baseball game in Detroit, Sunday, April 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

    Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander reacts after giving up a two-run home run to New York Yankees' Jayson Nix during the second inning of a baseball game in Detroit, Sunday, April 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) Purchase photo reprints »

  • New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers in Detroit, Sunday April 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

    New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers in Detroit, Sunday April 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the New York Yankees in Detroit, Sunday, April 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

    Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the New York Yankees in Detroit, Sunday, April 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) Purchase photo reprints »

  • New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera acknowledges the crowd with Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland after being presented a frame with photographs of him pitching at Tiger Stadium and Comerica Park before a baseball game in Detroit, Sunday, April 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

    New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera acknowledges the crowd with Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland after being presented a frame with photographs of him pitching at Tiger Stadium and Comerica Park before a baseball game in Detroit, Sunday, April 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) Purchase photo reprints »

  • New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera is seen in the dugout before a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers in Detroit, Sunday, April 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

    New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera is seen in the dugout before a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers in Detroit, Sunday, April 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Detroit Tigers catcher Brayan Pena signs autographs before a baseball game against the New York Yankees in Detroit  Sunday  April 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

    Detroit Tigers catcher Brayan Pena signs autographs before a baseball game against the New York Yankees in Detroit Sunday April 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Jadyn, left, and Haven Fielder, sons of Detroit Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder play on the field before a baseball game between the Tigers and the New York Yankees in Detroit Sunday April 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

    Jadyn, left, and Haven Fielder, sons of Detroit Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder play on the field before a baseball game between the Tigers and the New York Yankees in Detroit Sunday April 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) Purchase photo reprints »

  • New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi walks back to the dressing room after meeting with reporters before a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers in Detroit  Sunday April 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

    New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi walks back to the dressing room after meeting with reporters before a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers in Detroit Sunday April 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander, right, talks with catcher Brayan Pena during the first inning of a baseball game against the New York Yankees in Detroit, Sunday, April 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
  • New York Yankees' Jayson Nix (17) is congratulated by teammate Francisco Cervelli after they both scored on Nix's two-run home run during the second inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers in Detroit, Sunday, April 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
  • New York Yankees designated hitter Travis Hafner breaks his bat during the third inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers in Detroit Sunday April 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
  • Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander reacts after giving up a two-run home run to New York Yankees' Jayson Nix during the second inning of a baseball game in Detroit, Sunday, April 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
  • New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers in Detroit, Sunday April 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
  • Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the New York Yankees in Detroit, Sunday, April 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
  • New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera acknowledges the crowd with Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland after being presented a frame with photographs of him pitching at Tiger Stadium and Comerica Park before a baseball game in Detroit, Sunday, April 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
  • New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera is seen in the dugout before a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers in Detroit, Sunday, April 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
  • Detroit Tigers catcher Brayan Pena signs autographs before a baseball game against the New York Yankees in Detroit  Sunday  April 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
  • Jadyn, left, and Haven Fielder, sons of Detroit Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder play on the field before a baseball game between the Tigers and the New York Yankees in Detroit Sunday April 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
  • New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi walks back to the dressing room after meeting with reporters before a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers in Detroit  Sunday April 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Nix hit a two-out, two-run homer off Verlander’s high, hanging changeup and that was enough offense for New York because CC Sabathia pitched seven scoreless innings to help the Yankees beat the Detroit Tigers 7-0 Sunday.

“Poor pitch selection and poor pitch execution on the same pitch usually doesn’t end up too well,” Verlander said.

Verlander (1-1) allowed three runs on seven hits and three walks, looking shaky after throwing five scoreless innings in a season-opening win at Minnesota.

“If he could have one pitch back the whole day, it would be the pitch to Nix,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.

The Yankees (2-4) avoided a sweep and dropping to their worst six-game record since starting the 1989 season 1-7.

New York’s ace had a lot to do with helping his team get the much-needed win.

Sabathia (1-1) gave up four hits and three walks while striking out four in 114 pitches, bouncing back from a dreadful opening-day start.

“CC had his craft working with his changeup, slider and fastball,” Detroit outfielder Torii Hunter said. “He did a great job of keep us off balance.”

The Yankees, with four of their All-Stars on the disabled list, got all the run support they needed in the second inning when Francisco Cervelli hit an RBI double and Nix followed with a two-run, two-out homer to give the Yankees a 3-0 lead.

Detroit seemed to have a good chance to avoid getting shut out in the eighth inning.

Yankees reliever David Robertson, though, got out of a two-on, one-out jam by getting Victor Martinez to hit a fly to shallow center and Matt Tuiasosopo to strike out. Mariano Rivera pitched the ninth, drawing some cheers after he was honored in a pregame ceremony for his planned retirement. Rivera gave up two hits and ended the game by striking out Hunter.

The Tigers gave Rivera, who Leyland said was the best closer of all time, a plaque with pictures of him pitching in Detroit along with dirt from Comerica Park and Tiger Stadium.

“That was pretty neat,” Rivera said.

Phil Coke replaced Verlander with one out and nobody on base in the seventh, and let the Yankees score two more runs — on Ichiro Suzuki’s sacrifice fly and Cervelli’s single — for a five-run cushion. Kevin Youkilis made it 7-0 with a two-run single off Octavio Dotel.

After losing the first two games in Detroit by a combined score of 16-7, the Yankees put a strong performance together at the plate on the mound and in the field.

The Tigers, who are off to a 3-3 start, had won six straight against the Yankees, including sweeping them in last year’s AL championship series.

Detroit advanced to the World Series by roughing up Sabathia in Game 4, scoring six runs — five earned — and getting 11 hits off him in just 3 2-3 innings.

“Pitching dictates everything, and CC pretty much dictated the pace,” Leyland said.

NOTES: Tigers C Alex Avila had a previously scheduled day off less than 12 hours after becoming a first-time parent. ... Detroit is off Monday before opening a home series against Toronto on Tuesday afternoon. ... The Tigers drew 127,333 fans to three-game series, the largest opening series crowd in Detroit since 1948. ... New York OF Brennan Boesch received his AL championship ring in the clubhouse Sunday morning. ... Hunter has five multihit games in his first six with the Tigers.

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