Baseball's New York Yankees pounded the Detroit Tigers, 8-4, on the first day of the major league playoffs.

Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter went 5-5 with a home run during Tuesday night's game in New York, and teammates Bobby Abreu and Jason Giambi drove in six runs. Chien-ming Wang, a 26-year-old pitcher from Taiwan who has become the Yankees' ace, got the key first-game win in the best-of-five series.

In the American League's other first-round playoff in Minneapolis, the Oakland Athletics defeated the host Minnesota Twins, 3-2. Frank Thomas blasted two solo home runs. Barry Zito, the winning pitcher, and Minnesota's ace Johan Santana both lasted eight innings.

In southern California, the St. Louis Cardinals flew past the San Diego Padres, 5-1, in the first National League playoff game. Albert Pujols hit a two-run homer for the Cardinals, who survived a late-season fade to slide into the playoffs on the final day of the regular season.

The National League's other first-round playoff begins later Wednesday in New York, where the Mets will take on the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Padres and Cardinals play their second game on Thursday, but the two American League series continue Wednesday -- Detroit at the New York Yankees - 8:10pm ET, and the Oakland A's at the Minnesota Twins - 1:10pm ET.

All of the four first-round playoffs are best-of-five series. Winners of the two American League series will then play each other on a best-of-seven basis, with the winner going on to the World Series. The National League follows the same pattern.