SAN DIEGO — Chad Green certainly earned himself another start. Whether he will get another one soon, though, remains to be seen.
The rookie righthander, brought up from the minors over the weekend to make his second big-league start, pitched six terrific innings Sunday, leading the Yankees to a 6-3 victory over the Padres in front of 42,131 at Petco Park.
The victory allowed the Yankees (40-41) — who blew it open with a three-run ninth that included the second of Mark Teixeira’s two homers in the game — to avoid a sweep by the Padres (35-47).
The Yankees, seven games behind the AL East-leading Orioles at the official halfway point of the season, will continue a three-city, 10-game trip this afternoon against the White Sox.
Green, 25, who was hit hard in a spot start May 16 in Arizona but had a 1.54 ERA in 14 starts with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, allowed one run and three hits in six innings. He struck out eight, did not walk a batter and departed with a 2-1 lead.
“When I was rehabbing in Scranton, I got to see him pitch and just saw him dominate down there,” said Teixeira, whose eighth-inning blast gave him 400 career homers before his two-run shot in the ninth made it 6-1. “I came back up here and was telling everyone, ‘That guy’s got the best stuff of anyone in Triple-A.’ And he showed it today.”
“He was much more who we thought he could be today,” Joe Girardi said.
Green (1-1), who planned to give a game ball from his first career big-league victory to his parents, said he was more comfortable yesterday than he had been against Arizona, in large part because of a cutter he added to his repertoire since that outing.
“I always thought I could get out big-league hitters, but it’s nice to have the reassurance,” he said. “It’s nice to have the first one.”
Girardi, who declined to speculate about another start for the rookie, left himself open to second-guessing by pinch hitting for Green, who had thrown only 75 pitches, in the seventh.
But his bullpen, shaky as it was, bailed him out, as did the late surge by the offense.
“He hasn’t been in that situation, third time he’s going through the lineup,” Girardi said. “He did his job, and I’m going to turn it over to those guys.”
Those guys, of course, are Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman.
Betances, who threw 27 pitches Saturday night, allowed back-to-back singles to Matt Kemp and Yangervis Solarte (four hits) to start the seventh but pitched out of a second-and-third, one-out jam by striking out Derek Norris and Ryan Schimpf.
Miller, who gave up Melvin Upton Jr.’s walk-off homer on his first pitch of the ninth inning the night before, took the mound in the eighth with a 3-1 lead, courtesy of Teixeira’s homer. He allowed two runners to reach base — Upton struck out for the second out in between Christian Bethancourt’s single and Wil Myers’ walk — but got Kemp to ground to Teixeira, who flipped to Miller for the third out. Kemp had been 5-for-6 against Miller.
Anthony Swarzak allowed a two-run homer by Alex Dickerson in the ninth to make it 6-3 and Girardi brought on Chapman, who retired three straight for his 16th save.
“We were the team that was in first place all year until whenever the Blue Jays [passed us last season],” Miller said. “In an ideal world, you’re hot at the end of the year . . . If we can finish hot, we’ll put ourselves in position to make the playoffs.”
THE 400 CLUB
Switch hitters who have hit 400 or more home runs:
Mickey Mantle 536
Eddie Murray 504
Chipper Jones 468
*Carlos Beltran 411