NEW YORK – Buck Showalter sat by his desk as his cellphone beeped loudly every 30 seconds or so, no doubt with texts and emails of congratulations.
He didn’t want to think about his 1,000th win as a major league manager. He already was focusing on No. 1,001.
“I’m very appreciative of the players making me feel really young tonight even though I’m an old goat,” Showalter said after his Baltimore Orioles beat the New York Yankees 7-1 Tuesday.
Brian Matusz ended his 11-month losing streak, and Chris Davis and J.J. Hardy homered off struggling Phil Hughes to give the Orioles their first win in five tries against the Yankees this year.
Showalter’s first win came on April 7, 1992, across the street at old Yankee Stadium when New York’s Scott Sanderson beat Boston ace Roger Clemens 4-3. Showalter remembered the last out as if it happened a second earlier.
“Backdoor breaking ball. Steve Farr to Jody Reed – front-door breaking ball,” he said. “It was supposed to be back door and he popped it up, over in foul territory.”
When this one ended, Showalter remained in the dugout for about a minute while his players celebrated. When he finally came onto the field, Nick Markarkis pushed him into the center of players who mobbed him around home plate. Luis Ayala shoved the last ball of the game into the hands of the 55-year-old.
Showalter improved to 1,000-958 in 14 seasons with the Yankees, Arizona, Texas and Baltimore. He joined Dusty Baker, Bruce Bochy, Davey Johnson, Jim Leyland, Mike Scioscia and Bobby Valentine among active managers in the 1,000-win club.
“It’s kind of embarrassing quite frankly because it’s about the players,” Showalter said.
Matusz (1-3) allowed six hits and one walk in 6 1-3 innings to win for the first time since beating Oakland last June 6. He had been 0-12 with a 10.47 ERA in 14 starts since, the longest active losing streak in the majors and one short of the Orioles record set by Mike Boddicker from 1987-88.
“It couldn’t be more exciting,” Matusz said. “Growing up I was a huge Diamondback fan, so Showalter was the manager there and I watched a lot of his games. It’s an honor to be a part of that game and come away with a win.”
Ex-Yankee Nick Johnson got in on the fun, adding an RBI double in the eighth against Rafael Soriano that stopped a 0-for-29 skid at the start of the season.
Fighting to keep his spot in the Yankees’ battered rotation, Hughes (1-4) allowed four runs and four hits in 5 2-3 innings, leaving him with a 7.48 ERA. He struck out six, using a 95 mph fastball, but once again got in trouble with the long ball. Hughes has allowed seven home runs, including at least one in each of his five starts.
“Overall, tonight was the best stuff I had all year,” he said.
With a 5.83 ERA for their starting rotation, higher than every major league team except Minnesota, the Yankees already have dispatched Freddy Garcia to the bullpen and replaced him with rookie David Phelps. Andy Pettitte, coming out of retirement at age 39, could be ready after one more minor league start – meaning Hughes is probably next to be bumped.
“I try not to think,” Hughes said. “There’s always pressure to perform. It’s always in the back of your mind, but the first thing I have to worry about is me.”
Hughes wasn’t the only Yankees player to stumble. Eduardo Nunez, an infielder subbing in left field because of injuries to Brett Gardner and Nick Swisher, misplayed Johnson’s routine fly with two outs in the sixth into a two-run error. Nunez misread the ball, lunged and missed it as it dropped.
Curtis Granderson put the Yankees ahead in the first with his ninth homer, a drive off the ribbon board in front of the upper deck in right. Davis, who had three hits, tied it in the second with his fifth homer and Hardy’s two-run drive gave Baltimore a 3-1 lead in the third.
Hughes hit his final batter, Matt Wieters, with a pitch in the sixth, and Boone Logan allowed consecutive singles, with Wilson Betemit driving in a run.
Trailing by five, the Yankees loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh. Alex Rodriguez, who had reached on a bunt single in the sixth, fouled out to the catcher against Darren O’Day on his first pitch.
A serious Showalter was in no mood to celebrate. His mind was fixed on Wednesday’s game.
“I’m trying to figure out how we’re going to beat (Ivan) Nova tomorrow,” he said.
NOTES: The Orioles have delayed the unveiling of the Brooks Robinson sculpture at Camden Yards from May 12 to Sept. 29. The Hall of Fame third baseman broke a bone in his shoulder during a fall in January. … The Orioles are 16-43 against the Yankees since 2009. … Granderson made a nice sliding catch on Endy Chavez’s drive to center in the eighth. … New York’s D.J. Mitchell pitched a two-hit ninth in his major league debut.
Article Copyright of Associated Press