Both teams went to their bullpens in the seventh inning and Jim Leyland's fear of his middle relief was realized early.
Joba Chamberlain got the ball for the Yankees in relief of Sabathia and worked a quick, 13-pitch inning, setting down Jackson, Rhymes and Ordonez in order.
Phil Coke got the call for the Tigers. Phil Coke has been working all spring to be a starter this season, but will be working out of the bullpen for the first week or so until a fifth starter is needed. The first batter he faced was Curtis Granderson and the odds were in Coke's favor -- lefties hit just .229 off of Coke in their career and Granderson hits a meager .234 off lefties in his career. However, Coke fell behind 2-0 and served up a predictable fastball right in Granderson's wheel house, which he hit out to right. 4-3 Yankees.
Russel Martin then reached on Brandon Inge's first error of the season, a throwing error that Cabrera could not dig out of the dirt. Coke's day was finished after he got Brett Gardner to sacrifice himself to get Martin over to second.
The young Ryan Perry was summoned to face Jeter with a runner on second, and the jitters were apparent. Perry made quite the expressionist painting on the MLB game day strike zone, including a pitch that went to the backstop that allowed Martin to get to third. Jeter then hit a screaming sac to center, bringing in Martin to give the Yanks a 5-3 lead. Perry closed out the shaky inning when Teixeira lined out to second.
Rafael Soriano coming in for Chamberlain in the 8th ...