NEW YORK -- Drew Smyly pitched with more nerve and savvy than reasonably expected for a rookie making his fourth big league start. At Yankee Stadium.
The Detroit Tigers left-hander fell behind in the count, then threw curveballs for strikes. He gave up an early home run, then retired 12 of the next 13 batters.
The only real acknowledgement of his inexperience was a quick hook from manager Jim Leyland. Oh, and after the final out, his teammates poured beer over his head in the shower to celebrate his first major league win and the end of their five-game losing streak in a 7-5 win over New York on Saturday.
"He really pitched like a veteran pitcher to be honest with you," Leyland said. "Not a lot of guys can do that. Guys pitch a long time and can't do that."
Miguel Cabrera homered and drove in three runs and Andy Dirks hit a three-run homer in the first off Freddy Garcia. Dirks made a pair of nice defensive plays, too, running down balls that looked like extra-base hits off the bat.
Smyly (1-0) gave up a leadoff single to Alex Rodriguez in the seventh and Leyland pulled him immediately for lefty Phil Coke rather than have him face the rest of the Yankees lineup a third time. Coke got Mark Teixeira to hit into a 1-6-3 double play. Smyly finished with two hits and two walks in six-plus innings. He struck out seven.
"He was mixing and throwing strikes on all his pitches," said Andruw Jones, who struck out looking in his first at-bat. "The first time I saw him, he fell behind and threw me three straight curveballs for a strike. Never thought in my mind he was going to throw me curveballs straight like that."
Smyly acknowledged that he was nervous before the start, and caught himself staring at Derek Jeter before the game. But once it began, he was all business.
"The team was on a losing streak," Smyly said. "Hopefully this this jump starts us."
Garcia (0-2) looked shaky right from the start. He started the game by walking Jackson, a player with barely more than 100 bases on balls in more than 1,300 plate appearances for his career. He actually went to a full count on his first three batters, and intentionally walked Fielder before Dirks' home run.
"My velocity is down," Garcia said. "I don't know what's going to happen next. I have to keep working and do my stuff. I have to figure it out soon."