Bronx, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Michael Pineda struck out a career-high 16 in a dominant performance that carried the New York Yankees to a 6-2 victory and a series win over the Baltimore Orioles.
Pineda (5-0) had multiple punchouts in each of his seven innings and did not walk a batter in the highest single-game strikeout effort by a Yankee hurler since David Wells recorded 16 against Oakland on July 30, 1997. The towering right-hander was reached for a solo homer by J.J. Hardy in the second, but held the Orioles to just five other hits.
New York got solo homers from Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann en route to its third triumph of this four-game set. Didi Gregorius contributed two hits and a pair of an RBI to the win, with Jacoby Ellsbury adding a two-run double for the Yankees.
Hardy and Adam Jones each had two hits and an RBI for Baltimore, which halted a four-game skid with Saturday's 6-2 decision over New York. Starter Bud Norris (1-4) lasted only 3 1/3 innings, permitting four runs, six hits and three walks.
Pineda displayed filthy stuff all throughout his second straight outstanding outing, which he began by fanning six of the first nine Baltimore hitters.
"In the first inning when I threw my first slider I said, 'everything's working perfect tonight'. I'm happy with that," Pineda said.
A hanging slider in the second inning was knocked into the seats by Hardy for the game's initial run, but Pineda atoned for his lone mistake of the day by setting down 13 of the next 15 batters.
Norris, battling a stomach bug that had him questionable to make Sunday's start, was able to keep the Yankees off the board through three innings of play, despite New York putting four on base through the first two.
He came apart in the fourth, however, with Beltran's homer that ended a nine-pitch battle igniting a four-run outburst.
"It's always good to be able to contribute, get on the basepaths for the guys behind," said Beltran of his first homer in 100 at-bats this season.
The next two Yankee hitters reached base as well before Gregorius plated Chase Headley with the go-ahead run by poking a single to right. Ellsbury followed with a line drive over Alejandro De Aza's head in left that brought in two more for a 4-1 advantage.
"I've never really pitched like that before, feeling that bad, but you're just trying to get one out at a time and believe me, I was just one pitch away," Norris said. "I thought my stuff was pretty good. It's just really frustrating. That's all I can say."
McCann increased the lead further with his second homer of the series, a blast into the second deck in right off Brian Matusz in the fifth.
Pineda, meanwhile, kept on dealing. He struck out six straight Orioles prior to Delmon Young' harmless double in the sixth, then later capped his outstanding effort with K's of Caleb Joseph and Ryan Flaherty to end the seventh.
Esmil Rogers took over for Pineda in the eighth and surrendered a double to Jimmy Paredes that preceded Jones' RBI single. The Yankees had extended the margin to 6-1 a half-inning earlier when Gregorius' two-out double knocked in McCann.
Pineda's 16 strikeouts are tied for the second-highest single-game total in Yankee history, and he became the first pitcher to fan 16 without a walk since Minnesota's Johan Santana struck out 17 against Texas on Aug. 19, 2007 ... The Yankees have now won eight of Pineda's last nine starts dating back to last season. He's gone 7-0 over that stretch ... Norris lost for the first time in five career decisions against the Yankees ... Paredes ended 2-for-4 to extend his career-long hitting streak to nine games ... The Orioles fell to 0-9 this season when scoring three or less runs.