If this is the end for Jeremy Guthrie, if the right-hander's five seasons as an Oriole are over, at least he walked off the mound successfully.
He finally won as an Oriole at new Yankee Stadium.
Guthrie spun seven strong innings in the Orioles' 4-2 victory, the first time they have beaten their American League East tormentors in seven tries this season. The Orioles (41-61) had lost five of seven overall coming into Friday's game, which was delayed an hour and 49 minutes due to a fierce rainstorm before the first pitch.
"I always keep a ball from the wins I get," Guthrie said. "Wish I had a lot more [baseballs], but it's nice to have a ball from Yankee Stadium finally in a win."
With trade rumors swirling around him and with several scouts on hand, including those from the Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers, St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers, Guthrie threw a 113-pitch gem. He allowed four hits, three walks and one run, on Mark Teixeira's 29th homer of the season in the sixth.
The trade talk, he says, doesn't bother him.
"There's no reason to pay attention to it. I've said it before, 99 percent of what goes on or gets talked about around [the] trade deadline, doesn't ever happen," he said. "So why would you ever worry about it or think about it? If it happens, then you have to worry about it and think about what you are going to do. "
And Guthrie doesn't expect it to get that far.
"I would be tremendously surprised if it did happen and disappointed in the fact that you leave behind friends," Guthrie said. "But like I said, it's pointless to even talk about it. I'll give you all the interviews you want if it did happen."
Guthrie (5-14) struck out five and threw his third consecutive quality start while picking up his second win in six decisions. It was his first victory in the Bronx in three years (July 28, 2008), his first against the Yankees since April 6, 2009 and his only win in four starts at new Yankee Stadium. In three previous starts here, Guthrie was 0-3 with a 6.41 ERA.
Before the outing, Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he was more concerned about the opponent and venue than how Guthrie dealt with the pressure of trade rumors.
"Initially, his biggest challenge is going to be pitching against the Yankees here," Showalter said. "He's struggled career-wise somewhat here and I am looking for him to pitch well here."
Guthrie did, and he got a little help from the longball.
Mark Reynolds hit his team-leading 22nd homer in the second inning, a two-run shot to right-center. First baseman Derrek Lee added his 12th home run in the sixth and also had a run-scoring double in the fourth against Yankees starter and Monkton resident A.J. Burnett (8-9).
Burnett, who was seeking his 13th career win against the Orioles, which would have been the most against any opponent, lasted seven innings. He yielded five hits all for extra bases and struck out a season-high 10.
"Yeah, he's just tough. This guy has electric stuff," Lee said of Burnett. "We were able to take advantage of some of the mistakes he made. We hit him for extra base hits and drove some runs in."
Lee, who may also be on the trade block, went 2-for-3 with a walk and is now 7-for-14 with two homers, two doubles and seven RBIs on the four-game road trip.
Has his trade value risen?
"If someone looks at my numbers now compared to a couple weeks ago, it probably looks a little better," said Lee, who is hitting .248 on the season. "And we'll see what happens. It's out of my control."
One more potential Orioles trade chip, right-handed reliever Koji Uehara, pitched a scoreless eighth, striking out two while allowing one hit. His ERA for the season is 1.72 and it's 1.02 since May 8, a span of 32 appearances and 35 1/3 innings.
Closer Kevin Gregg recorded his 17th save in 21 chances, but, again, it wasn't easy. Robinson Cano led off the ninth with a bouncer down the third base line that nicked off the glove of diving third baseman Reynolds for a double. Nick Swisher followed with a run-scoring double into the left-field corner.
But Gregg induced a flyout, walked Jorge Posada, picked up a force out and then struck out Brett Gardner, who slammed his bat down twice, shattering it.
"He gives up a ball off the end of the bat that trickles off the third base line, a great pitch. What are you going to do?" Showalter said of Gregg. "Some people throw the dirt around them and say 'Woe is me,' but we got three outs and we come back feeling good about the game tonight."
It's possible Uehara or Lee could be dealt by Sunday's 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline. Guthrie, however, certainly won't pitch again before his Orioles future is decided by Sunday. So this may have been his swan song.
"Jeremy Guthrie is worth a lot," Lee said. "You saw what he is capable of today against a lineup like the Yankees. Not a lot of great starting pitching that's available out there. So I am sure he would bring a good return."
Showalter said before the fine outing that one game shouldn't change how teams view Guthrie.
"Regardless of how he pitches [Friday], people in baseball are still going to think of him as a guy who is potentially going to pitch 200 innings for a third year in a row," said Showalter, who was briefed by team president Andy MacPhail about potential trades before Friday's game. "I know this, talking to Andy, if other people don't value our guys the way they should be valued, then he's not going to do it. And I am all for that."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun