Luis Severino reached the 10-win benchmark today with a gem against Tampa Bay. The Bombers went deep twice, defeating the Rays 4-1 this afternoon at Yankee Stadium.
Severino was flat out brilliant. He had his best stuff working and was aided by stellar defense. With one out in the top of the first inning, Jake Bauers went first-pitch swinging and knocked a single to left. Severino struck out Will Adames swinging with a nasty slider on a 3-2 pitch, and Gary Sanchez fired a bullet from his knees to gun out Bauers trying to steal second for the double play. Bauers was initially called safe, but the call was reversed in New York’s favor after replay review.
The Rays got two men on in the second, but Severino initiated a 1-6-3 double play to escape that jam. Didi made the perfect pivot and just nipped the runner at first with a strong throw to Greg Bird. Sevy allowed just two additional baserunners for the remainder of his stellar outing, neither of whom advanced as far as second base.
Today marked the first time the Yankees got to experience the Rays’ experiment with their opener strategy. Tampa Bay’s unusual approach to managing pitchers worked out just fine for the Bombers. Opener Ryne Stanek departed after retiring four of the five batters he faced. The Yankees then jumped all over reliever Ryan Yarborough.
After Stanek recorded the first out of the second inning by retiring Sanchez on a foul pop up, Yarborough entered the game and promptly walked Bird on four pitches. Aaron Hicks singled, moving Bird to second. After Miguel Andujar flied out, Gleyber Torres hit a rope down the third-base line. The shot deflected off of third baseman Matt Duffy’s glove and rolled into left field. Bird scored easily on the play to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead.
New York added another run in the third. Aaron Judge led off with a double to left field, and scored on a Didi Gregorius single. Didi advanced to second on the throw, and then stole third with two outs as Bird drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch. Hicks also walked on a full count to load the bases, but the Yankees missed an opportunity to add on when Andujar struck out swinging to end the frame.
The Bombers put the game away in the fifth. Giancarlo Stanton led off with his 16th home run of the year, a line-drive just inside the left-field foul pole. Sanchez followed with his 13th homer, a mammoth shot over the center field wall, just to the right of the 408-foot sign. The blast was the Kraken’s first homer since May 19th.
The bid to shut out the Rays for the second straight game was spoiled in the ninth. Chasen Shreve was brought in for mop-up duty with a 4-0 lead, but he promptly coughed up a home run to Duffy. Bauers followed with a triple, so skipper Aaron Boone went to his closer to nail down the win.
Aroldis Chapman got two quick groundball outs, while holding the runner at third. He struck out Joey Wendle swinging to close out the game and earn his 20th save. New York’s elite closer has clearly returned to form. Chapman needed only 10 pitches to escape the jam. Chapman lowered his ERA to 1.17, and has now converted 20 of 21 save opportunities
Severino joins defending Cy Young Award winners Corey Kluber and Max Scherzer as MLB’s only 10-game winners. The Yankees ace threw eight shutout innings, allowing only three hits and two walks while striking out nine batters. The Bombers are 13-2 this season in games started by Severino. The right-hander has now allowed two runs or fewer 12 times this year. The eight scoreless frames drops Severino’s ERA to 2.09.
With the win, the Yankees improve their record to 46-20, moving them into a tie with their pinstriped predecessors from 1942 and ‘53 for the seventh best start in franchise history. Only the 1926-28, ‘32 (Ruth and Gehrig), ‘39 (Gehrig and DiMaggio), and ‘98 (Core Four) teams claimed more victories than the current squad before suffering their 21st defeat.
The Yankees turn to their stopper, CC Sabathia (4-1, 3.27 ERA), as they go for the four-game sweep tomorrow. The Rays have yet to announce a starter or opener. First pitch is set for 2:05 PM EDT, following Old Timer’s Day festivities.