DETROIT -- Even Joe Girardi thought the call reversal at first base in the sixth inning was correct.
The overturned ruling stopped a New York rally one run shy of a tie and the Detroit Tigers went on to an 8-4 victory over the Yankees on Saturday.
Austin Jackson singled three times and scored three runs while defending Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera drove in a run for the fifth straight game.
Max Scherzer was handed a 5-1 lead after a tie-breaking four-run rally in the bottom of the fifth.
"I got caught in a real long inning," Scherzer said after picking up the win in his first start of the season. "It cost me. I can't let that kind of thing affect me."
Scherzer walked the first two batters he faced in the sixth before he was chased by Travis Hafner's RBI single.
Reliever Al Alburquerque gave up a bases-loading walk and former Tiger Brennan Boesch smoked a liner that Prince Fielder caught, then ran to first in an attempt to double off Vernon Wells.
First base umpire Brian O'Nora signaled safe and a surprised Fielder called for time in the middle of the diamond. Home plate umpire Jerry Layne reversed the call after a short conference, a decision that seemed to be upheld by replays.
"I thought he (Fielder) stepped on the bag," Girardi said. "But I never saw a replay. I thought we were going to get a break there."
"They got the play right," said manager Jim Leyland of Detroit, an opinion that seemed to be borne out by replays. "That's what they're trying to do, get it right. Sometimes it's going to go for you, and sometimes it's going to go against you."
Francisco Cervelli then walked and Lyle Overbay grounded a two-run single to right, drawing New York to a 5-4 deficit, before Jayson Nix grounded into an inning-ending forceout. Girardi did have an issue with Alburquerque's motion with runners on base.
"He balks on every throw," Girardi said. "One pump, two pumps. It's a balk."
Girardi didn't get the balks called, though, and Detroit expanded its lead as quickly as it shrank.
Torii Hunter had three hits, scored twice and drove in a run. Cabrera reached base all five times he stepped to the plate on three singles, a double and a walk.
Singles by Jackson and Hunter plus an RBI forceout by Cabrera and an RBI single by Andy Dirks in the bottom of the sixth pushed the margin back to 7-4.
"The key to the game, I thought," Leyland said, "was Darin Downs. The job he did. He's feeling pretty confident right now. Throwing strikes and working both sides of the plate."
Downs faced seven batters in the seventh and eighth innings.
The Tigers took a 5-1 lead, chasing starter Phil Hughes in the fifth. Hunter doubled in a run and scored on a ground single up the middle by Cabrera, who now has an RBI in all five Detroit games this season. Victor Martinez hit a sacrifice fly and Jhonny Peralta had an RBI single.
New York managed just one run in the second from a home run, triple and double -- because of a double play.
Wells' leadoff home run, his second homer of the season, enabled the Yankees to tie the score 1-1 and offset an unearned by the Tigers in the first.
Then Boesch tripled to right -- a ball that glanced off Hunter's glove as he reached the wall. But Boesch was thrown out at home trying to score on a Cervelli fly ball to Hunter. Overbay doubled but was stranded when Nix was called out on a 1-and-2 slider.
"I was ticked off," Hunter said of missing Boesch's triple. "I thought if he's going, I'm going to get him. I was excited."
Hunter's throw reached Alex Avila just in time to get Boesch.
Jackson reached first on an error by Nix, playing short in place of injured Eduardo Nunez, in the first. He went to third on a one-out single by Cabrera and scored on Fielder's sacrifice fly to center.
A sacrifice fly by Dirks off Joba Chamberlain in the eighth accounted for Detroit's final run.
NOTES: Detroit catcher Alex Avila left immediately after the game to join his wife in a local hospital awaiting the birth of their first child, a daughter. He took his wife to the hospital after Friday's 8-3 win over the Yankees. Doctors were expected to induce labor. Leyland scheduled Sunday off for Avila, with catcher Brayan Pena starting in his place. ... Starter Hughes (upper back) was taken off the disabled list Saturday by New York to start against Detroit. Right-hander Cody Eppley was optioned to the minors to create a spot on the 25-man roster. Eppley appeared in two games, allowing four runs in 1 2/3 innings. Right-hander David Phelps was scheduled to start Saturday. "We don't really have a long guy if we start Phelpsie," Girardi said. "We wanted (Hughes) to make one more (rehab) start -- but he'll make it here." Phelps worked 2 2/3 innings of relief, allowing two runs. ... Leyland said he'll start infielder Ramon Santiago for a second straight game Sunday, moving him from second to short, with left fielder Matt Tuiasosopo making his first start in a Detroit uniform in the same game against Yankees left-hander C.C. Sabathia. "I don't like them to sit on the bench too long," Leyland said of using his reserves. "That goes against what you have a 25-man roster for." ... Nunez was not in Saturday's starting New York lineup and might not play Sunday either after suffering a bruised right biceps when hit Friday by a pitch thrown by right-hander Doug Fister. "He'll be a couple of days," Girardi said. Nunez said he didn't even try to throw Saturday, his arm was so sore. "I'll try (Sunday)," he said. "I thought it was broken. I think I was lucky." ... The Tigers are off Monday before hosting Toronto in a three-game series. That meant Don Kelly would be the backup catcher to starter Pena.