Few pitchers can shut down the Orioles’ No. 3 through No. 6 hitters for an entire game.
But on Saturday afternoon, Adam Jones, Nelson Cruz, Chris Davis and J.J. Hardy combined to go 0-for-16 with 10 strikeouts.
New York Yankees rookie Shane Greene tossed 7 1/3 scoreless innings in just his second major league start, and a trio of relievers followed to seal the Orioles’ 3-0 defeat.
“There’s no substitute for getting in there in the box off of [a new pitcher],” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “Whether it’s a 4 o’clock start, 7 o’clock start or 1 o’clock start, you’re going to have success if you do what he did today.”
Down 1-0 entering the bottom half of the sixth, the Orioles had all the right pieces in place for a big inning. The top of the order was due for its third crack at Greene, who had allowed two hits and a stolen base in the previous frame.
And two batters in, it seemed the Orioles might flip the scoreboard in their favor. Right fielder Nick Markakis drilled the third pitch he saw to left field, and left fielder Steve Pearce followed with a line single.
The heart of the Orioles’ lineup was due up with two on and nobody out.
But Jones reached for the first pitch he saw -- a curveball that broke out of the zone -- and bounced a ground ball to Brian Roberts, the Yankees second baseman. The longtime Oriole sprinted to tag his base, then turned and fired a jump throw to first for a rally-stifling double play.
“When you keep the ball down in the zone with a sinker like that, with the velocity he has, it’s hard to string multiple hits off of him,” Markakis said.
Designated hitter Nelson Cruz struck out swinging to end what had been a promising inning.
“He threw a good game, kept us off-balance,” Markakis said. “He made big pitches when he needed to, and he got himself out of a couple of jams.”
Cruz lined out to start the ninth, and he, Davis and Hardy were ultimately retired on 11 total pitches to clinch Greene’s second big league win.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun