AP Sports Writer
BALTIMORE (AP) — For much of the season, Shane Greene put up unspectacular numbers for Scranton-Wilkes-Barre of the International League.
Now a member of the New York Yankees, the rookie right-hander is dominating some of the best hitters in the big leagues.
Greene took a four-hitter into the eighth inning of his second major league start, and the Yankees beat the Baltimore Orioles 3-0 Saturday.
Greene (2-0) struck out nine — including Nelson Cruz three times — and walked two in his third big league appearance. He didn’t give up a hit until the fifth inning and allowed only two runners past second base in 7 1-3 innings.
“We were really excited about him in spring training and what he could possibly do for us,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “We felt he could help us at some point this year, and the time is now.”
It was Greene’s second win in six days with the Yankees, the first coming at Cleveland, where the 25-year-old allowed two runs in six innings.
“He’s stepping up, that’s for sure,” Girardi said.
After going a combined 12-10 in the minors last year, Greene was 5-2 with a 4.61 ERA this season against such teams as the Buffalo Bisons and Gwinnett Braves. Somehow, that translated into success against the Indians and AL East-leading Orioles.
“A dream come true,” Greene said. “It means a lot that I got the opportunity and it means a lot that I can come up here and help the team win.”
David Robertson, the third New York reliever, worked a perfect ninth for his 23rd save.
Brian McCann had three hits for the Yankees, who moved within four games of the Orioles in the AL East. New York is 3-5 against Baltimore this season.
It was only the third loss in 12 games for the Orioles, who finished with five hits. Chris Tillman (7-5) gave up three runs, seven hits and three walks in 6 2-3 innings.
“It’s another one of those (performances) that kind of gets looked at but is not properly appreciated because of what the other guy was doing,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.
The 3-4-5-6 hitters in the Baltimore lineup went 0 for 16 with 10 strikeouts. In addition to Cruz, Chris Davis and J.J. Hardy both struck out three times.
“(Greene) didn’t leave much over the plate and worked both sides of the plate,” Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis said. “We couldn’t get much going against him.”
The Yankees led 1-0 before chasing Tillman with a two-run seventh. Kelly Johnson led off with a single and advanced on a wild pitch before Derek Jeter hit a two-out RBI single to left.
That prompted the thousands of Yankees fans among the sellout crowd of 46,667 to chant “Derek Jeter! Derek Jeter!” — saluting the 40-year-old team captain who will retire after this season.
Jacoby Ellsbury greeted T.J. McFarland with a broken-bat RBI double, and the inning ended when Ellsbury was cut down at the plate trying to score on McCann’s single to center.
Ellsbury was the second New York runner to be thrown out at home, although it hardly mattered as theYankees improved to 10-32 when scoring three runs or fewer.
An RBI double by Mark Teixeira gave New York a 1-0 lead in the third, but Jeter was thrown out trying to score on the play.
That would be the Yankees’ final hit until McCann singled with one out in the sixth.
Greene allowed only a walk through four innings and struck out the first two batters in the fifth before Manny Machado grounded a single to left. Ryan Flaherty also singled before Nick Hundley struck out.
New York got runners on the corners with two outs in the sixth before former Oriole Brian Roberts whiffed on a high fastball with the count 0-2.
In the bottom half, the Orioles got successive singles from Nick Markakis and Steve Pearce before Adam Jones hit into a double play and Cruz struck out for the third time.
NOTES: Chase Whitley will start for New York in Sunday night’s series finale. Kevin Gausman will start for Baltimore. … The Yankees designated RHP Matt Daley for assignment and activated LHP Jeff Francis, obtained in a trade with Oakland on Friday. “You don’t want to put a limit on yourself. You just want to come here, you want to give the team good innings and help the team win. That’s the goal,” Francis said. … Knowing Miguel Gonzalez wouldn’t be needed before the All-Star break, Baltimore optioned the right-hander to Triple-A Norfolk and recalled C Steve Clevenger from the same club. Gonzalez will return July 22 to face the Angels, Showalter said. … The sellout was Baltimore’s second straight and seventh of the season.
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