NEW YORK -- Domingo German admitted he had dreamed of a day like this, one where he would walk onto a Major League mound and keep the other team from getting any hits.
"You think of a no-hitter or a perfect game," German said through an interpreter. "You think of that stuff."
Plenty of kids dream it. Not many can go out there and do what German did Sunday at Yankee Stadium, pitching six hitless innings in his first Major League start in the Yankees' eventual 7-4 win over the Indians. The rookie right-hander left the game only because of his pitch count of 84, which was 23 more than he had thrown in any of his relief appearances this season -- and maybe a dozen more than Yankees manager Aaron Boone planned to allow him to throw Sunday.
"I was hoping best case five innings and a little north of 70 [pitches]," Boone said. "But he was so efficient. I thought it was a tribute to how good a pitcher he has become and the weapons he has. He was terrific."
German got outs with a fastball that sat in the mid-90s, but also with an impressive curve and changeup. He walked two and struck out nine, becoming the first Yankee in 21 years to strike out that many in his first start, and the first Yankee ever with at least six hitless innings in his first start.
"I was super-excited for the opportunity," said the 25-year-old German, who was a starter in the Minor Leagues but only entered the Yankees' rotation after Jordan Montgomery went down with an injury last week. "I'm very thankful the manager gave me the opportunity."
German cut through an Indians lineup that had scored 50 runs on 74 hits in the previous six games (and scored four times on four hits in the three innings after he left).
"I thought he was really good," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "I know he's young and I know he hadn't started, but he was [throwing] three pitches and he pitched like a veteran."
German said he knew he hadn't allowed a hit, but he also knew before the game that he was on a pitch limit. Boone extended him past the 70-pitch range, but there was never a possibility he was going to have a chance to finish the game.
German retired the final six batters he faced, but Boone sensed his starter was tiring as the game went on.
"Towards the end, I didn't feel tired," German said. "But I did overthrow a little, and he may have seen that."
What he saw mostly was what everyone saw: A pitcher who was extremely impressive and one who will now get more opportunities to start.
And more chances to fulfill his dream.