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Detroit — It looked from the beginning like Tigers left-hander Kyle Lobstein was doomed.

Much like his first start in Cleveland last week, he didn't appear to have his best stuff early on Tuesday. He's not a hard-thrower on his best day, but his four-seam fastball was topping out at 85 mph.

"It's usually low at the beginning of the year," said Lobstein, whose fastball would touch 90 at the end of last season. "Typically I throw a little slower than I will as the season progresses. That's a little unorthodox because pitchers usually start slowing down as the season goes on.

"I am not worried about it, as long as I have that difference in speeds in all my pitches. That is what gets guys out."

Well, that wasn't happening early on, either. His change-up, off an 85 mph fastball, was 79 mph. His sinker was clocked at 85, his cutter at 82. Not much variation.

And on top of that, he was falling behind hitters.

It didn't help much that it was cold and wet and the wind was blowing out to left field.

"It's not something you can practice for or prepare for when you get rain and weather like that," he said. "In the end you just have to try and work through it. The hitters are dealing with it, too."

Impressively, he did work through it. He not only survived a rough start, but by the sixth inning he was flourishing.

"He battled the whole time," manager Brad Ausmus said. "He had trouble throwing strikes and getting ahead of the hitters. But he got better as the he went on. He did a nice job for us, ultimately."

Four of the first eight Yankees he faced reached base. But the only tangible damage was done by Mark Teixeira in the first inning. He slapped a high slider into the right field corner, scoring Brett Gardner from first.

Lobstein put two runners on in the second but wriggled out of trouble. From the third inning on, though, he started to mix in a curveball and find some rhythm with his sinker and change-up.

"I was able to drop the curve in there early in the count to give them another look," he said. "I used it late in the count, too. They have to respect it if I throw it for strikes."

He retired 12 of 15 batters from second through the sixth. He allowed only a single to Chris Young and two walks in that span. He got double play grounders in the fourth and sixth.

Lobstein wound up spinning gold out of straw.

"He had issues all game," catcher Alex Avila said. "Lobstein, for whatever reason, it takes an inning or so to get into a groove. I thought he threw the ball great today. With Lobstein facing a tough lineup, you couldn't ask for more than six innings and one run."

Lobstein is getting starts in place of injured Justin Verlander. He is scheduled to pitch again against Cleveland on Sunday.

"Whenever I get the opportunity I'm going to try and take," he said. "Obviously there's a lot of unknowns in this game. All you can do is try and take advantage of any opportunity you have."

chris.mccosky@detroitnews.com

twitter.com/cmccosky

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