Andy Pettitte gave up two hits in a strong start and shortstop Jhonny Peralta made two difficult plays deny the Yankees with the bases loaded twice as the New York and Detroit were scoreless through three innings Saturday night in the AL championship series opener.
Peralta made a diving, backhand stop in the hole of Alex Rodriguez's grounder with the bases loaded in the first inning, then made a nice play an inning later on Robinson Cano's liner that caromed off the inside of Tigers starter Doug Fister's right wrist, a play that ended another bases-loaded threat.
In Game 2 on Sunday, Anibal Sanchez starts for Detroit. Hiroki Kuroda will pitch for New York in the first outing of his big league career on three day's rest.
Rodriguez was back in the New York lineup, batting sixth, after being benched for the deciding game of the division series against Baltimore. Fans gave him a standing ovation as he walked to the plate with two outs in the first. Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira and Raul Ibanez all reached on walks by Tigers starter Doug Fister.
The 37-year-old third baseman had not hit as low as sixth since Joe Torre batted him eighth in the fourth and final game of the 2006 AL division series against the Tigers, according to STATS LLC.
Both teams were coming off difficult division series that each went five games. The Tigers beat the Yankees in 2006 and again last year, both times in the division series.
Fister got the win in Game 5 last year. He got off to a wild start in this one, walking three in an inning for just the second time in his career, according to STATS LLC.
With two outs, A-Rod hit a sharp groundball that Peralta dived to his right to snare. From his knees he threw to second base to just get Ibanez sliding in.
In the second, the Yankees used three two-out singles to load the bases, including Jeter's 200th postseason hit.
Cano, who was 2 for 22 in the division series, lined a ball off Fister's pitching hand. It went on a hop to a charging Peralta, whose throw barely beat Cano to first base. Cano slammed his helmet down.
Pettitte was making his 44th postseason start. He gave up singles to Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera in the first and Prince Fielder in the third but had little other trouble.
New York won the season series between the teams 6-4.