DETROIT -- A frosty ending to Detroit's three-game winning streak was also a warm tale of redemption for New York's CC Sabathia.
Sabathia, whose 2015 season ended early when he admitted he needed to solve his problems with alcohol, earned a rotation spot in spring training and on a freezing Saturday at Comerica Park terminated the Tigers' season-starting winning streak with six-plus innings of four-hit baseball.
"To do it against that lineup has to be really impressive," manager Joe Girardi of New York said. "They've got a lot of tough right-handed bats."
Sabathia left the bases loaded in his one dangerous inning, the fourth, and was removed from freezing weather after giving up a leadoff single in the seventh.
The game started one degree below freezing and ended at 32 degrees with flurries of snowflakes occasionally floating down.
"He cuts the ball, sinks the ball," Detroit manager Brad Ausmus said of Sabathia (1-0). "Nothing seems to be straight. He doesn't give in. As you see, he may end up walking them and try to get the next guy to hit into a double play."
Sabathia is used to the spotlight, but eyes were on him this spring as he came back from his personal problems to avoid becoming one of the highest-paid long relievers in baseball history.
"I want to thank my wife, my mom," he said, noting both were toasty warm in a Comerica Park suite, watching his first start of the season. "They've kind of been a rock for me."
Said Girardi: "We've always had his back. The guys in that (locker) room have always had his back."
Detroit brought it to 8-4 after Kirby Yates took over for Sabathia. Yates gave up a single and both runners advanced on an error. A wild pitch and groundout to second by Ian Kinsler scored each runner.
Chasen Shreve got the last out of the seventh for the Yankees, Dellin Betances worked the eighth and Andrew Miller the ninth.
The scoreboard operator was consistently mislabeling Sabathia's 86-87 mph fastball as a changeup and his 77 mph changeup as a slider, but the left-hander moved the ball around the fringes of the strike zone masterfully to keep Detroit batters off balance one time through the lineup.
Sabathia (1-0) walked three straight Tigers in the fourth after retiring the first nine he faced, and James McCann lined a two-out, two-run single to left for Detroit's first hit.
Sabathia gave up a single to reload the bases before getting the third out. He ended having allowed four hits and three runs, with four walks and three strikeouts on 90 pitches.
Beltran tagged Tigers' reliever Buck Farmer for a two-run shot in the fifth to make it 8-2.
Didi Gregorius hit a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded earlier in the four-run frame.
Pelfrey (0-1) fed Rodriguez a fat 3-and-2 fastball with two out in the first and the New York designated hitter did what he has been doing to those pitches for years -- hitting them for home runs.
It was his first of this season and the 688th of his career.
The Yankees took a 2-0 lead in the second on a two-out RBI single by Gregorius. Brian McCann singled leading off and was wild-pitched to second.
Pelfrey, a free agent signing from Minnesota, was hit hard in his 3 2/3 innings. He allowed eight hits, walked one and struck out three.
"I do think the cold weather had an effect (on Pelfrey), especially with his split-finger," Ausmus said. "You could see that with Sabathia as well. He had trouble with his command at times."
Ausmus was ejected in the fifth for arguing balls and strikes with home plate umpire Paul Emmel.
"I was a little upset with a couple of strikes called," Ausmus said. "It really went back to J.D. (Martinez) taking strike three with the bases loaded in the fourth. I thought that was a ball.
"It kind of changed the inning. Instead of a run in and the bases still loaded, it was two outs. But Paul's not trying to miss any calls. I just that one was a little inside."
NOTES: Yankees manager Joe Girardi is angry about the new rules concerning second base slides. He called MLB's Joe Torre after watching another game decided by a call on a runner sliding into second on Friday night. "I'm not sure they (middle infielders) aren't in more danger now," Girardi said. "Because now they have to stay on the bag." ... Former Yankee 1B/OF/DH Nick Swisher worked out at the Yankees' minor league complex Saturday morning and signed a minor league deal with the club. He was cut by Atlanta during spring training. ... Tigers 3B Nick Castellanos was not in the lineup Saturday after getting four hits the day before. His replacement, utility player Mike Aviles, took a 9-for-25 career mark against New York LHP CC Sabathia into the game. ... 3B Chase Headley was given a day off and replaced by Ronald Torreyes.