Lack of full repertoire stings Montgomery

Lack of full repertoire stings Montgomery

BALTIMORE -- With two months of big league service now under his belt, each of Jordan Montgomery's nine starts have presented valuable learning opportunities. The Yankees hope that the left-hander can use some of the lessons from Monday's 3-2 loss to the Orioles down the road.

Montgomery did not have a reliable curveball or changeup as he attacked Baltimore's lineup, according to manager Joe Girardi, which forced the 24-year-old into several deep counts. Montgomery threw 100 pitches in just 4 1/3 innings, permitting three runs (one earned) and eight hits.

"Basically, I've just learned that every guy can hurt you," Montgomery said. "One to nine, they're a really good lineup. They're all really good hitters. If you get two outs, it can snowball still from there, so you've got to buckle down and get clean innings when you can and just execute pitches. When I execute pitches, I get outs."

The big blow came on Jonathan Schoop's two-run double to right field in the third inning, helping the O's capitalize on Starlin Castro's one-out error, but Baltimore put the pressure on Montgomery in a 34-pitch first inning in which he said he felt "rushed."

Montgomery was on his way to being more efficient in the second inning, turning five pitches into two outs, but Caleb Joseph doubled and Joey Rickard worked a seven-pitch walk before Chris Davis struck out to swell Montgomery's pitch count to 56.

"He got some swings and misses on his changeup, but his curveball, he didn't really have good command," Girardi said. "A lot of times his changeups were balls as well. He got into a lot of long counts. He wasn't dictating the counts because he was behind."

"I gave up too many two-out hits today," Montgomery said. "I made the adjustment in the later innings and started getting some quick outs."

Montgomery exited after Mark Trumbo and Welington Castillo reached base on fifth-inning singles. Jonathan Holder and Chasen Shreve combined for 3 2/3 scoreless innings of relief, but the Yankees were limited to Aaron Judge's Major League-leading 17th homer the rest of the way.

"I think he was pretty good," Castro said of Montgomery. "He gets in a hurry a little bit in the first two innings, but after that he continued pitching pretty good. I think he's not at his best today, but he kept the game close. I think we've got a chance to win that game."

Pitching coach Larry Rothschild and Montgomery huddled in the dugout for what appeared to be a lengthy conversation.

"He just kind of told me not to worry about it," Montgomery said. "He said I pitched well, battled and executed pitches. I executed a couple and they hit them. Just keep working and not read into anything too much. I'm headed the right way."

In nine starts since outpitching the competition to force his way onto the roster, Montgomery is 2-4 with a 4.11 ERA, permitting 47 hits in 50 1/3 innings with 19 walks and 48 strikeouts. The Yankees have seen some of the qualities that piqued their interest so much in the spring, and now will look for Montgomery to continue putting the puzzle together.

"It's a young starter, and as I've said, you're going to have some growing pains with young starters," Girardi said. "Again, he gave us a chance to win today and our bullpen did a fabulous job when you look at what Holder and Shreve did. Just fabulous. It's part of it."

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.