BALTIMORE -- CC Sabathia, Russell Martin and the New York Yankees crashed a party that was 15 years in the making.
Martin led off the ninth inning with a tiebreaking home run off Jim Johnson, Sabathia turned in a sparkling pitching performance and the Yankees beat the Baltimore Orioles 7-2 Sunday night in the opener of their AL divisional series.
Sabathia allowed two runs and eight hits in 82/3 innings to help the Yankees take the edge off the Orioles' first home playoff game since 1997. The husky left-hander went 0-2 in three starts against Baltimore during the regular season, but in this one he returned to form and improved his lifetime record against the Orioles to 17-4.
Sabathia is 6-1 with the Yankees in the postseason, 4-0 in the division series.
With the score 2-all, Martin drove a 2-0 pitch from Johnson into the left-field seats. It was the first of four straight hits off Johnson, who led the majors with 51 saves. Raul Ibanez and Derek Jeter followed with singles, Ichiro Suzuki drove in a run with a swinging bunt and one out later, Robinson Cano hit a two-run double.
In his seven prior appearances against New York, Johnson allowed one run in seven innings and had three saves. Nick Swisher capped the five-run ninth with a sacrifice fly off Tommy Hunter.
Game 2 will be played tonight.
* TIGERS 5, ATHLETICS 4: At Detroit, a dropped fly, two wild pitches and a little smooch for the baseball by a relieved reliever.
Then Don Kelly brought it all to an end with a simple fly ball.
Kelly scored the tying run on a wild pitch in the eighth inning, then hit a bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth that lifted Detroit to a 2-0 series lead.
Detroit will go for a sweep of the division series matchup in Game 3 on Tuesday at Oakland.
Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera doubled twice for the Tigers, hit a fly ball that resulted in a two-run error and later singled in the ninth.
The Tigers overcame three A's leads and seesawed to victory. It was 1-all before a wild final three innings that included a big Oakland misplay, two game-tying wild pitches and several momentum changes.
It was the sixth straight postseason loss for the A's, all to Detroit. The Tigers swept Oakland in the 2006 AL championship series, winning the series on Magglio Ordonez's homer in Game 4 -- which was Detroit's last sudden-death postseason win before Sunday.
* NATIONALS 3, CARDINALS 2: At St. Louis, though rookies in the postseason, the Washington Nationals played like poised veterans.
The Nationals escaped a bases-loaded jam in the seventh inning, pinch hitter Tyler Moore blooped a two-out, two-run single in the eighth and Washington beat the defending World Series champion in the opener.
The Nationals, who had never come close to making the playoffs since moving from Montreal for the 2005 season, overcame a wild start by 21-game winner Gio Gonzalez.
Reliever Ryan Mattheus needed just two pitches to bail out the Nationals in the seventh with St. Louis ahead 2-1. Tyler Clippard worked around an error in the eighth and Drew Storen saved it with a 1-2-3 ninth.
The NL East champion Nationals led the majors with 98 wins this season, and brought postseason baseball to Washington for the first time since 1933. The Nats go for a 2-0 series lead today when Jordan Zimmermann opposes Jaime Garcia.
The Cardinals made it to the best-of-five division series by beating Atlanta in the wild-card matchup Friday. But St. Louis wasted a 10-strikeout gem by Adam Wainwright, failing to capitalize enough on Gonzalez's career high-tying seven walks and frustrating its towel-waving fans.
* REDS 9, GIANTS 0: At San Francisco, Bronson Arroyo retired his first 14 batters and delivered a gem a day after 19-game winner Johnny Cueto went down with a back injury, and Cincinnati will head home with a 2-0 division series lead.
A pair of Ryans provided the big hits. Ryan Ludwick homered leading off the second inning for his first career playoff clout and Ryan Hanigan hit a two-run single in the fourth and a late RBI single. Jay Bruce added a two-run double and Joey Votto had three hits.
Arroyo held the Giants to just a single hit and one walk over seven shutout innings, striking out four San Francisco batters.
Former San Francisco skipper Dusty Baker came into his old stomping grounds and left with two commanding victories 10 years after managing the Giants within six outs of a World Series title.