After a Friday night slog that saw 16 runs scored, fans Saturday were treated to a magnificent pitchers’ duel, as Luis Severino and Andrew Cashner combined for 14 innings of two-run ball. Eventually the starters gave way to the bullpens, and the Yankees’ bats slightly woke up, yielding a 3-1 victory over the Texas Rangers.
Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Severino was terrific. The 23-year-old surrendered just a single hit while striking out ten Rangers. Plus, as we’ve seen all year, his velocity was popping. His 100th and final pitch clocked in at 99 mph.
Severino did struggle a little bit with walks, issuing three free passes. One in the fifth inning resulted in the only run he allowed. After a walk to Will Middlebrooks, Ben Nicholas rapped a double to right field that plated the Rangers’ first run. Aside from that brief hiccup, he was on cruise control all day.
Offensively, the Yankees seemed to be asleep for the most part. There was almost nothing to speak of for the majority of the game. It wasn’t until the top of the eighth that the Yankees could string anything together, with Todd Frazier being hit by a pitch and Matt Holliday delivering a pinch-hit single to put runners on the corners. Chase Headley tied the score with a sacrifice fly, and we were back to where we had begun headed into the final phase of the game.
The ninth went in a similar fashion. The Yankees put multiple men on, including Frazier by virtue of another hit by a pitch. Some teams have designated hitters, some have designated runners, the Yankees appear to have made Frazier their designated HBPer. Tyler Austin, brought in as a defensive replacement, slapped a single to give the Yankees the lead, and AL MVP Chase Headley walked with the bases loaded. Before you knew it, the Bronx Bombers had a 3-1 lead.
Coming in to close, Aroldis Chapman had just one job to do: not blow it. He did not blow it, striking out two of the three outs he recorded, and sealing the win for the Yankees. Austin made an impact defensively as well, with a brilliant stretch to complete the first out and prevent a hairy start to the inning.
The Yankees have a chance to win their third straight series tomorrow in the rubber match. Jordan Montgomery will get the start, opposing Rangers righty AJ Griffin. That game goes at 3:05pm EDT.