Green was dominant in relief of Yankees starter Jaime Garcia, entering with none out in the sixth inning of New York’s 2-1 loss in Game 1 of a doubleheader against the Indians. Green struck out Roberto Perez and Bradley Zimmer, with Carlos Santana erased stealing second base to end the inning.
In the seventh, Green struck out Giovanny Urshela, Francisco Lindor and Brandon Guyer in order. Jose Ramirez opened the eighth inning with a double to left field, but Green rebounded to strike out Yandy Diaz and Jay Bruce before yielding to reliever Tommy Kahnle.
“It’s arms. They just keep coming at you,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “It’s the reason they are where they are. Their bullpen is tremendous. You say top to bottom. There is no bottom.”
Seven pitchers had struck out seven while facing nine batters, most recently Trevor Hoffman in 1996. Former Yankee Ron Davis struck out eight of nine Angels on May 4, 1981.
“I’m not trying to throw a lot of pitches,” Green said. “I think sometimes my pitch count gets higher than I would like, but the strikeouts just come. I’m trying to attack the zone, and if it happens, it happens.”
The 26-year-old Green is one of 11 relievers ever to strike out seven batters in fewer than three innings, a feat accomplished most recently by the Orioles’ Dylan Bundy, who did it in 2 1/3 innings against the Dodgers on July 6, 2016.
Green has struck out 86 of 209 batters faced over 57 innings this year, holding opponents to a .142 batting average.
“It’s not something I can really put a finger on,” Green said. “I’ve always been a fastball pitcher. I guess something just clicked. The location is probably a little bit better this year, I think, but other than that, I’m not really doing anything too different than I’ve done in the past with it.”