NEW YORK — From the outset, there was something different about Domingo Germán. His fastball zipped a little more, setting up an effective curveball and the Yankees got what they needed from their unexpected ace.
German pitched seven strong innings to become the first 16-game winner in the majors and New York beat Baltimore 8-3 on Tuesday night, running their winning streak over the Orioles to 15 games.
He allowed two runs, five hits, struck out seven, walked one and won his career-high seventh straight decision. He did so with a four-seam fastball that averaged 93.3 miles per hour and topped out at 96, up from the 88.4 mph he averaged Thursday in Toronto.
“It definitely felt a little firmer when it was coming in,” Yankees catcher Austin Romine said of German's fastball. “It definitely had some more life to it.”
When he was not throwing fastballs, German kept Baltimore off-balance by throwing 37 curveballs. He generated 14 of his 21 swings on misses on his curveball that averaged 82.1 mph.
“You could just see the finish on his breaking ball and a little more life on his fastball too,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.
Germán pitched seven innings for the fourth time on a night in which the Yankees deployed a 10-man bullpen in the hopes of not using key bullpen arms Adam Ottavino, Zack Britton and Aroldis Chapman after Monday's doubleheader. He raised his winning percent to a major league-best .889, the second-highest of any Yankee with at least 15 decisions behind Ron Guidry .893 mark in his 25-3 season in 1978.
“We wanted to be economical out there understanding how much the bullpen has been used in the past couple of games,” Germán said through a translator.
Germán raised his innings total to 116 and while there could be an innings limit at some point, the Yankees are not ready to discuss it for someone who began the season in the rotation as a replacement for Luis Severino.
“Not yet,” Boone said when asked at what point the Yankees have to impose an innings limit.
DJ LeMahieu homered on the first pitch he saw to get the Yankees going. Aaron Judge added a two-run double on the third anniversary of his major league debut in New York's four-run fourth.