HOUSTON -- How good was Mariners southpaw Roenis Elias in Thursday's 4-2 victory over the Yankees? The 25-year-old allowed one earned run and struck out 10 in his seven-inning stint, becoming just the second opposing rookie in the last 45 years to strike out 10 or more in his Yankee Stadium debut.
He became the first Cuban with a 10-strikeout game in the American League since Jose Contreras with the White Sox in 2008, while Jose Fernandez of the Marlins has done it six times since then in the National League.
"I thought he used his fastball and his curveball really effectively," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi. "He got a number of strikeouts on his curveball. He has pretty good stuff, that young man. We saw up to 94 mph and a pretty effective curveball."
Elias thought he had a couple more strikeouts, stalking off the mound aggressively on several occasions after believing he'd thrown a third strike, only to get pointed back to the hill by home-plate umpire Bill Miller.
Umpires tend to not be happy about getting shown up by rookie pitchers, so catcher Mike Zunino cautioned his teammate after the scene was repeated several times in the fourth frame on what turned into a walk to Mark Teixeira.
"Yeah, I told him after that inning to settle that down a little bit," Zunino said with a smile. "And he said OK and stayed right on the dirt when he thought calls were close. That's just him, just thinking balls were close. Luckily he was able to not let that rattle him."
Manager Lloyd McClendon said he didn't think Elias was trying to show up the umpire and likes the confidence and fire the youngster shows when competing.
"I'm still trying to get a few more guys to loosen up and unleash their talents as well," McClendon said. "He certainly has done everything we've asked him to do."