Yankees' Shane Greene wins first big-league start
CLEVELAND - It already has happened once this season, a Yankees minor-leaguer with little track record and few expectations from the club pitching his way into the rotation.
Maybe Shane Greene is next.
The righthander, brought up to spot-start Monday night, pitched as if he plans to stay a while, much as Chase Whitley did when called up in mid-May.
The 25-year-old Greene, with mostly unimpressive numbers in the minors, no-hit the Indians for 42/3 innings in his first big-league start in a 5-3 victory at Progressive Field.
"It's a dream come true, there's no question about that,'' said Greene, who Joe Girardi said put himself in the "discussion'' for another start.
After winning three of four against the Twins, the Yankees (45-43) improved to 4-1 on this three-city, 11-game trip leading up to the All-Star break.
After totaling 22 runs in three wins at Target Field, the Yankees scored five off Justin Masterson (4-6), driving him from the game two batters into the third inning. Brett Gardner, Brian McCann and Ichiro Suzuki each had three of the Yankees' 12 hits. "We're just showing what we're capable of doing,'' Girardi said of a suddenly resurgent offense.
Nick Swisher, awful much of the season for the Indians, got their first hit, an opposite-field homer to left-center with two outs in the fifth.
The Indians (43-45) slowly chipped away after falling behind 5-0 in the third. Asdrubal Cabrera's two-out single off Greene in the sixth made it 5-2 and Yan Gomes' leadoff homer off David Huff in the eighth cut the deficit to 5-3.
Rookie Dellin Betances, named an All-Star on Sunday, replaced Huff and picked up his first save. Michael Brantley led off the ninth with a single but Betances -- filling in for David Robertson, who pitched during three of the previous four games -- retired three straight to end it.
"It's pretty cool,'' Betances said of save No. 1. "I was just trying to go out there and keep it the same, just make pitches, and thank God I was able to do that. It didn't feel any different.''
The 6-4, 210-pound Greene was 5-2 but had a 4.61 ERA in 15 games (13 starts) for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He allowed two runs, four hits and no walks in six innings, striking out two.
"Power arm,'' an opposing team's scout said after Greene's night was done. "Pretty good slider, plus-fastball, good sinker. He threw the ball well.''
Greene was at 68 pitches through five innings, and his "efficiency'' impressed Girardi. The rookie gave the credit to catcher Francisco Cervelli.
"I was just trying to follow Cervy's lead and trying not to think too much,'' Greene said. "Everything he put down, I threw it with confidence.''
Does he think he earned another start? Greene smiled and said, "That's not up to me.''
The Yankees took pressure off Greene early, getting an RBI double from Brian Roberts, an RBI single from Gardner and a bases-loaded walk from Derek Jeter in the second to make it 3-0. They added two in the third, when Ichiro drove in a run with an infield hit and Cervelli had an RBI forceout to make it 5-0.
"In the first inning, I think [Greene] was a little anxious,'' Cervelli said. "The next inning, he came back like a veteran guy. The kid was really good. He was nasty.''