NEW YORK -- Though Jaime Garcia could not hide his disappointment after handing over the ball in the fifth inning, one out shy of what could have been his first victory as a member of the Yankees, the veteran had no reason to argue with the outcome of manager Joe Girardi's call.
Chad Green's remarkable season continued, as the right-handed reliever retired all four batters he faced, striking out three and earning the win in the Yankees' 3-2 victory over the Rays on Wednesday at Citi Field.
"I just try to do my job whenever my name is called down there," Green said. "I don't try to do anything too special, just try to go in and get outs, really."
Making his first start since Aug. 30, Garcia was stunned to see Girardi signaling to the bullpen after Lucas Duda whacked an 83.9-mph slider into left field for a two-out single. Girardi summoned Green to face Evan Longoria, who flied out to end the frame.
"That was difficult, because he was throwing the ball so well, and he'd done a pretty good job on Longoria all day. but it was a decision that I felt like I had to make," Girardi said. "[Green] has been outstanding. He's been as good as anyone in our bullpen, so I think that has a lot to do with it."
Garcia shouted as he came off the mound, which he said was directed at the situation and himself, not at Girardi.
"I'm not going to sit here and lie to you that getting a win personally isn't a nice thing, but that's not key," Garcia said. "The main goal right now is to help this team win ballgames to go to October."
In the sixth, Green struck out Logan Morrison, Steven Souza Jr. and Adeiny Hechavarria. He has fanned 96 of the 226 batters he has faced as a reliever this season and has a 1.62 ERA with 75 strikeouts in 26 appearances since July 18. His 13.86 K/9 rate ranks second among American League relievers, behind only Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel (16.80 K/9).
"I try not to look at stats too much," Green said. "I think it's more about how I feel, really. I just take it day to day. I don't get too caught up in that. I guess the strikeouts [will] come."
The outing was Green's 29th of more than one inning, a flexible role that Girardi is comfortable with assigning to Green more and more.
"I feel like I'm bouncing back pretty well," Green said. "I feel like [Girardi is] doing a really good job giving me days off when I need it. I feel good right now. Whenever, how long they need to use me, I'll be ready."
That could mean more truncated starts for such hurlers as Garcia, who appreciated a long dugout conversation in which Girardi explained his position.
"That's the price we pay as starting pitchers," Garcia said. "Our bullpen has been unbelievable. It's one of the best bullpens in the league, and they come in every time, and whomever comes in after me, I know it's going to be really good. That's a good thing to have."
Green takes his cues from David Robertson, who has embraced a "team first" attitude following his July acquisition, even though he has tallied 132 saves in his 10-year career.
Robertson has said that he will pitch whenever asked, something Girardi put to the test in Monday's 5-1 victory, when he had Robertson enter in the fifth inning to fire a career-high 2 2/3 innings behind CC Sabathia.
Green is more than happy to keep on doing the same.
"With D-Rob, coming in [after] being the closer in Chicago and saying that he'll do pretty much anything that Joe wants him to, just having a guy like that, it's pretty special, I think," said Green.
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.