Detroit Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the New York Yankees, Thursday, April 23, 2015, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Carlos Osorio
April 23, 2015

DETROIT (AP) The Detroit Tigers got a big outing from a key pitcher Thursday afternoon.

Now they just need their offense to come back from the freezer.

Anibal Sanchez broke out of his slump, allowing one run on one hit and four walks in 6 1/3 innings, but the Tigers couldn't do anything against Masahiro Tanaka and the Yankees bullpen in a 2-1 loss. Detroit lost three of four to New York, scoring only one run in the final 17 innings.

''It is tough right now,'' Miguel Cabrera said. ''It is tough to score runs.''

While Sanchez didn't have great control, the outing was a major improvement on his previous two starts, where he allowed 14 runs in 9 2/3 innings.

''He threw strikes with all his pitches,'' said Tigers manager Brad Ausmus, who was ejected in the third for arguing a balk call. ''He used all his pitches and he mixed things up. He's been trying to be less rotational and come directly to the plate, and he was very good.''

Sanchez and Tanaka left with the score tied at 1, but the Yankees won it in the eighth. Jacoby Ellsbury led off with a double off Tom Gorzelanny (0-1), took third on Brett Gardner's sacrifice bunt and scored on Brian McCann's groundout.

The teams played in brutal conditions for the second time in 24 hours. After snow fell during Wednesday night's game, the game-time temperature on Thursday was 33 degrees.

While the night game saw 20 batters score 10 runs in a 52-minute first inning, the afternoon turned into a pitching duel between Sanchez and Masahiro Tanaka.

''I don't think the cold weather helps anyone,'' Ausmus said. ''I'd bet that scoring is down in April across the board as opposed to the rest of the year.''

Tanaka, who grew up in northern Japan, also allowed one run in 6 1/3 innings, giving up three hits and two walks.

''It was pretty cold out there,'' he said. ''I spent my high-school years in a really cold area, so as I was pitching I was remembering those days.''

Dellin Betances (3-0) picked up the win with 1 2/3 scoreless innings of relief, while Andrew Miller pitched a perfect ninth for his sixth save.

Detroit took the lead in the first inning on Victor Martinez's sacrifice fly, but the Yankees tied the game in the sixth on a strange play.

''He started his delivery and then stepped off the rubber to throw home,'' Davis said. ''I took a couple seconds to process what I saw. I wanted to be sure he had started his delivery before I made the call.''

With a runner on third and two out, Ellsbury bluffed toward home. Sanchez stepped off the rubber and threw home as Ellsbury retreated. None of the umpires made an immediate call, but after several Yankees visibly protested, third-base umpire Gerry Davis called a balk.

Ausmus came out to argue and was ejected by Davis. He acknowledged after the game that the call had been correct.

''It wasn't smooth, in terms of the timing, but Gerry got it right, so you can't really argue,'' he said.

The Yankees threatened again in the seventh, chasing Sanchez, but Gorzelanny got out of the inning with runners on first and second. The Tigers also had a chance in their half of the inning, but Chase Headley saved a run with a diving stop at third.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Yankees: DH Alex Rodriguez, who was 1 for 11 in the first three games of the series, got a scheduled rest day. Rodriguez had started 14 of New York's 15 games and pinch hit in the 15th.

Tigers: RHP Joe Nathan will miss the rest of the season after tearing the ulnar collateral ligament and the flexor pronator tendon in his pitching arm. The 40-year-old is expected to be sidelined for much of the 2016 season as well, but said Thursday that he hopes to continue his career.

UP NEXT

Yankees: Michael Pineda (2-0) faces Jacob deGrom (2-1) in the first game of a three-game home series against the Mets. The Yankees have lost the last four games between the teams at Yankee Stadium.

Tigers: AL ERA leader Shane Greene (3-0, 0.39) goes against Danny Salazar (1-0, 3.00) to start a three-game home series against Cleveland. Detroit swept the Indians in a three-game series at Progressive Field from April 10-12.

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