But Green joined the ranks of the ineffective relievers in Thursday night’s loss to the Orioles at Yankee Stadium. Coming on in relief of Masahiro Tanaka in the seventh inning, Green inherited a 2-1 Yankees deficit, a runner on first and one out.
By the time he left the mound, the Orioles’ lead had grown to 5-1 and the crowd was booing a pitcher whose arrival it had cheered. Although one of the runs Green allowed was charged to Tanaka, he allowed hits to three of the five batters he faced, including a run-scoring double to Anthony Santander and a two-run single to Trey Mancini.
“I just thought he missed some spots with his fastball,” Boone said. “He just had one of those little bumps along the way for him.”
The Orioles’ five-run seventh wiped out a 1-0 Yankees lead that was achieved in the previous half inning, when Aaron Judge belted a hanging slider from Baltimore starter Andrew Cashner into the right-field seats. It was Judge’s second home run of the season and the 58th of his career in just 189 games — the fewest for any player to have reached that mark.
But Tanaka, who narrowly avoided allowing a first-inning run when a perfect relay by Didi Gregorius cut down Mancini at the plate, pitched six strong innings before giving the lead back on a two-run homer to Adam Jones in the seventh.
“Obviously there’s a lot of frustration there,” Tanaka said. “I gave up a home run at the worst possible time.”
After Tanaka allowed a one-out single to Gordon Beckham, Boone decided to go to what just a few days ago seemed to be his strongest unit: the bullpen.
But things only got worse from there. The Yankees got a run back in the bottom of the seventh on Neil Walker’s run-scoring single but they missed an opportunity an inning later, when Orioles reliever Darren O’Day loaded the bases on a walk and two hit batters. This time, however, Walker tapped back to the mound and the threat was over. The Yankees had one final chance in the ninth with two out, a runner at first, Brett Gardner at the plate, and Judge on deck.
“I’m thinking, if we can just get to Judgie, we got a chance,” Boone said.
Added Judge: “You always want that last at-bat, especially in that situation.”
But it was not to be. Gardner struck out to end the game.