NEW YORK-- A final audition? Perhaps.
But in assessing Orioles starter Jeremy Guthrie and his performance Friday night, it was hard to tell just how much the needle on the right-hander's trade stock -- with Sunday's 4 p.m. ET Trade Deadline looming large -- really jumped. What was apparent, after a nearly two-hour rain delay at Yankee Stadium, was why the 31-year-old Guthrie's name has been floated around as many as a half-dozen teams around baseball in the first place.
Guthrie silenced one of baseball's most prolific lineups, holding the Yankees to Mark Teixeira's sixth-inning homer, in a sparkling seven-inning start that snapped the Orioles' season-long trance vs. New York with a 4-2 win.
"Jeremy Guthrie is worth a lot," said first baseman Derrek Lee, who continued to elevate his own trade stock with an RBI double and solo homer. "You saw what he is capable of today against a lineup like the Yankees. Not a lot of great starting pitching that's available out there. So I am sure he would bring a good return."
On Friday, Guthrie's effort brought Baltimore its first "W" in seven games against the Yankees this year, giving the right-hander his first win in New York since July 28, 2008, at the old Yankee Stadium. Whether the outing -- which netted Guthrie another ball for his win collection -- will be a bittersweet one, remains to be seen for Guthrie, who has remained adamant that those thoughts haven't crept into his psyche.
"I think it's easier not thinking about trade stuff on the mound, because there's a lot of other things to worry about," said Guthrie. "And I am actually a good reader, so you're right, I could read some stuff. But it's what you look at, you know? There's no reason to pay attention to it. I've said it before, 99 percent of what goes on or gets talked about around the Trade Deadline, doesn't ever happen. So why would you ever worry about it or think about it?"
Instead, with an announced crowd of 46,499 and a flurry of scouts in attendance, Guthrie put on a clinic for a Yankees team rumored to have interest, taking a two-hit shutout into the sixth in one of his best starts of the season.
"Jeremy needed it," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of the victory, which improved him to 5-14 on the season and marked his first win in four starts inside the Yankees' new home. "Jeremy pitched well enough to have some more Ws next to his name, so I was real proud of him -- the way everybody played. There was a lot of intensity."
Guthrie twice pitched out of early trouble, stranding a pair of one-out singles in the third, and getting around two two-out walks in the fourth before Teixeira ended any shutout hopes.
"He's doing a better job of trying to command his pitches instead of trying to throw harder, kind of a max-effort guy," Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner said of Guthrie, who struck out five in the 114-pitch performance. "He mixed in some changeups and some breaking balls, and we just weren't able to get much going against him."
Guthrie was helped by some early run support. Fresh off a series loss in Toronto, the Orioles' bats -- which had been outscored by New York 51-18 in the six games prior -- backed Guthrie with an early two-run homer from third baseman Mark Reynolds. Reynolds sent Yankees starter A.J. Burnett's first pitch over the right-center-field wall -- extending his own team lead in homers to 22 in the process -- to give the O's a two-run lead in the second inning.
Lee doubled in another run in the fourth, and connected for his second long ball in four games with a two-out solo homer in the sixth. The veteran first baseman, who has had a disappointing offensive season, has gone 7-for-14 on the road trip, including two homers, two doubles and seven RBIs.
"If someone looks at my numbers now, compared to a couple weeks ago, it probably looks a little better," said Lee. "I feel a lot better. I need to do it for a lot longer than a week or two, but I definitely feel better at the plate."
But the star of the night was Guthrie, who very well could have thrown his final pitch in an Orioles uniform. One of the team's best two trade chips -- along with reliever Koji Uehara -- Guthrie has tossed three consecutive quality starts and continues to be a target for contending teams looking to add a dependable middle-of-the-rotation arm.
"I don't get into [that]," Showalter said when asked if he thought Guthrie's stock went up following Friday's start. "You'd have to ask some other team that may have expressed interest. I don't know. That's not for me to judge."
"I would be tremendously surprised if it did happen, and disappointed in the fact that you leave behind friends," Guthrie said when pressed for his reaction if he were to change teams. "But like I said, it's pointless to even talk about it. I'll give you all the interviews you want if it did happen."
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.