DETROIT (AP) — Gerrit Cole lasted a career-low 1 2/3 innings, and Clarke Schmidt combined with four relievers to pitch three-hit shutout ball and lead the New York Yankees over the Detroit Tigers 4-2 Tuesday night in a series opener.
On a frigid April night in Detroit, Coleneeded 46 pitches to get two outs in the second before leaving with a 3-2 lead.
“I’m pretty disappointed,” he said. “I was trying to be too perfect, but I still had enough in there to get the job done.”
Cole, who came out of the dugout to throw long toss during the second-inning delay, matched his career high of five walks and allowed two runs and one hit, throwing just 37 of 68 pitches for strikes.
“I’ve certainly never had anything like that in my career before,” he said. “But it’s not something we can’t get through.”
Starting the third season of a $324 million, nine-year contract, the 31-year-old right-hander has a 6.35 ERA in three starts and has pitched into the sixth inning just once.
“I think he’s poised for a big year for us,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “He’s going to carry us for a long stretch. It hasn’t gone his way thus far, but he’s close.”
Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera singled off Cole leading off the second, his 2,996th hit.
New York’s bullpen got 22 outs without allowing a run. Schmidt (1-2) led the way, allowing two hits in 3 1/3 innings for his first major league win.
“That was huge,” Boone said. “Even with an off day yesterday, there were still some guys we were staying away from, so we really needed that length from him.”
Wandy Peralta got five outs, Clay Holmes two and Miguel Castro and Aroldis Chapman three each, with Chapman pitching a perfect ninth for his second save and ending a game that dragged for 3 hours, 59 minutes o a cold night.
Tigers starter Tyler Alexander (0-1) gave up two unearned runs, one hit and two walks in one inning, throwing 42 pitches for three outs.
“That was a brutal night for everyone who had to pitch,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “Tyler would have gone back out there for the second, but we’ve only stretched him out to 60 or 70 pitches, so we weren’t going to ask him to do that.”
New York loaded the bases with two out in the first, then scored a pair of runs when catcher Tucker Barnhart couldn’t find Donaldson’s popup in front of the plate and Alexander dropped it.
“I misplayed that, and the wind isn’t an excuse,” Barnhart said. “I thought it was going to come down closer to home plate and I was obviously wrong.”
New York was 0 for 11 with runners in scoring position before DJ LeMahieu lined an opposite-field RBI single to right in the ninth off Joe Jiménez. The Yankees are hitting .174 (16 for 92) RISP this season.
In the second, Isiah Kiner-Falefa walked, stole second and took third when Rony Garcia spiked a pitch into the grass in front of the mound. Garcia left with a cracked fingernail and Will Vest allowed a sacrifice fly to Aaron Hicks to make it 3-0.
After Cabrera’s lead-off single in the second, Spencer Torkelson lined out before Cole walked three straight batters, forcing in a run, and Robbie Grossman followed with a sacrifice fly. Cole’s 46 pitches were his career high for an inning, before Schmidt relieved.
“I probably shouldn’t have left him out there as long as I did,” Boone said. “He was at two outs and I was just wanting him to get through it and he couldn’t make that final pitch to end it.”
New York stole a season-high four bases. The Yankees struck out 13 times, including four by Joey Gallo, who is batting .121 with 15 strikeouts in 33 at-bats,
Yankees: Boone said he anticipates having all his players available when New York travels to Toronto for three games starting on May 2. “My understanding is that we’re going to be OK,” he said before Tuesday’s game. “I’m not sure about the timelines on everything, but my understanding is we’re going to be okay.”
Tigers: Tests on RHP Casey Mize’s sprained elbow showed no major damage, but the Tigers don’t have a timeline for him to resume throwing, … RHP Matt Manning (shoulder discomfort) is not going on the disabled list, but is expected to miss his scheduled start on Saturday.
Schmidt buried his face in his hands after hitting Cabrera with a 91-mph sinker in the third inning. He struck Cabrera out in the fifth.
“Obviously, that one slipped – I told him when he got to second base that I didn’t mean to hit him and he made a funny face and laughed,” he said. “He’s such a prolific character in this sport – it was cool to be able to face him and have his name on the lineup card for my first career win.”
The Yankees played four outfielders against Austin Meadows and Akil Baddoo in their first at-bats of the game, and the Tigers used four against Joey Gallo for multiple at-bats.
The teams play the second of a three-game series on Wednesday evening, with New York’s Luis Severino (1-0, 2.25) facing Detroit’s Eduardo Rodriguez (0-1, 5.87).
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