Buck Showalter's Orioles haven't had much trouble scoring this season, but he had concerns before Saturday's game. "Sometimes there's some anxiety about the unknown," he said of facing Yankees rookie Shane Greene.
His fears were soon realized. Greene frustrated the Orioles for 71/3 innings in the Yankees' 3-0 win in front of a sellout crowd of 46,667 at Camden Yards.
"Outstanding," Derek Jeter said of the 25-year-old Greene. "He was going after guys, he was pitching in the zone. He had control of the game pretty much the whole time, so it was exactly what we needed."
Distance of any kind has been a godsend for the Yankees, down four starting pitchers after Masahiro Tanaka hit the disabled list last week, and Greene provided it for a second straight start.
"He's stepping up, that's for sure," Joe Girardi said. "He's earning more starts is what he's doing."
The Yankees, who received two-out RBI hits from Mark Teixeira, Jeter and Jacoby Ellsbury, raised their record on this 11-game trip before the All-Star break to 6-4. At 47-46, they're four games behind the AL East-leading Orioles (51-42).
Greene, a winner in his first major-league start Monday in Cleveland, was even more impressive Saturday against a team that entered the day ranked second in the American League in homers (113), third in batting average (.266) and fourth in slugging percentage (.422).
Greene (2-0, 1.32 ERA), who had held the Indians hitless for 42/3 innings in his first start, retired the first 10 Orioles and didn't allow a hit until Manny Machado singled with two outs in the fifth. Ryan Flaherty singled Machado to third and stole second, but Nick Hundley struck out.
Greene, featuring a fastball consistently hitting the mid-90s and a biting slider, allowed four hits, walked two and struck out nine. What did he have working? "Everything," catcher Francisco Cervelli said. "They've got good hitters and the plan was so good today. Sliders anytime. I just put my glove up and he threw it."
"I try not to think too much. I try to keep everything simple," Greene said of his approach. "Just go out there and make one pitch at a time."
Greene, who called his first two starts "a dream come true," was replaced with one out and one on in the eighth by lefty David Huff, leaving the mound to a thunderous ovation from the sizable contingent of Yankees fans in attendance.
"I had goose bumps," Greene said. "It was awesome for sure."
Huff allowed a first-pitch single to lefthanded-hitting Nick Markakis, but Shawn Kelley replaced him and retired Steve Pearce and Adam Jones.
David Robertson improved to 23-for-25 in save chances by striking out two in a perfect ninth.
Baltimore righthander Chris Tillman (7-5), who danced in and out of trouble most of his outing, allowed three runs and seven hits in 62/3 innings. The Yankees, who had two runners thrown out at the plate trying to score on two-out hits, finished with nine hits, receiving three from a resurgent Brian McCann and two from Jeter.
Teixeira had a two-out RBI double down the rightfield line in the third, and Tillman's good fortune finally ran out in the seventh. Kelly Johnson led off with a single and eventually scored on Jeter's two-out single. Jacoby Ellsbury's RBI double down the rightfield line off lefty T.J. McFarland made it 3-0.
Greene's most impressive inning might have been the bottom of the sixth. Markakis and Pearce led off with consecutive singles but Greene got Jones to ground to Brian Roberts, who stepped on second and threw to first for the double play. He struck out slugger Nelson Cruz, who is tied for the AL lead in homers with 28, for the third time in the game to end the inning.
"He got some big outs when he had to," Girardi said. "His stuff was really good again."