BALTIMORE (AP) — Buck Showalter counted himself among the many fans at Camden Yards pulling for Steve Johnson to excel in his first major league start.
Watching Johnson from the Orioles dugout, Showalter allowed himself to play the role of a baseball enthusiast while the rookie struck out nine Seattle Mariners during Baltimore's 9-2 victory Wednesday night.
"Stevie was good, huh? That was fun to watch," Showalter said. "I tried to watch it as a manager trying to win a game but also a fan of those type of situations. We really wanted Steve to have success tonight, for him and for the club."
Johnson (1-0) gave up two runs, five hits and two walks over six innings in his second big-league appearance. The 24-year-old was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk to sub for Tommy Hunter, who was scratched because he threw in the bullpen Tuesday night in anticipation of entering a game that lasted 14 innings.
Johnson grew up in Baltimore and is the son of former Orioles pitcher Dave Johnson, who now works for the team's TV network. Steve Johnson's debut as a starter came exactly 23 years after his father made his first career start in Baltimore, a complete-game win against Minnesota.
Although the younger Johnson didn't go the distance, the right-hander made the most of his 97 pitches.
"It was great and it was unbelievable. Words really can't explain," Steve Johnson said. "I know a lot of people texted me and said they were coming. A lot of people from my high school and people I went to high school with. It was great."
To cap it off, he shared an emotional moment with his father after the game.
"It's something I was thinking about for a long time — get my first win and have him here," Johnson said. "And the way those days worked out, 23 years to the day, it's just special. It's all I can really say about it. It means a lot to me."
Matt Wieters volunteered to catch the rookie, one night after stooping behind the plate for all 14 innings. In addition to serving as a calming influence while Johnson was on the mound, Wieters tied a career high with five RBIs to help Baltimore complete a three-game sweep.
Nick Markakis and Mark Reynolds homered, and Adam Jones had three hits for the Orioles, who have won five straight and eight of 10. It was Baltimore's 60th victory of the season, compared to 69 all last year.
The Orioles built a 7-0 lead by the fourth inning against former teammate Kevin Millwood (4-10) and cruised to the finish in their sixth sweep of 2012.