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Yankees 3, Rangers 1: Luis Severino twirls no-hit mastery in seven

Luis Severino took over the Aaron Judge Show by dazzling the Rangers with seven innings of no-hit ball.

MLB: New York Yankees at Texas Rangers Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

Over 35,000 fans packed into Globe Life Field in Texas on Monday night hoping to see Aaron Judge hit No. 62, setting a new American League record. Instead, they were treated to absolute dominance from the resurgent Luis Severino. In his third start after being shut down for the better part of two months, Severino was nearly untouchable. He took over the storyline of the ballgame with seven hitless innings, allowing just a walk and facing the minimum. Behind Sevy, the Yankees coasted to a 3-1 victory in Arlington.

Severino had the good stuff from the get-go. He retired the first seven Rangers in order until a one-out walk by left fielder Josh H. Smith in the third. The former Baby Bomber was immediately erased though, as Sevy got Bubba Thompson to bounce into a double play. The right-hander remained all business in the middle innings, and the Rangers went down quietly each time. No inning was more overpowering than the fifth, when Severino struck out the side.

As the ballgame went deeper, Sevy seemed to only get better. He topped out at 100.3 mph on a swinging strike by Thompson in the sixth, and in the seventh, he kept pounding high-nineties in there as Texas continued its hitless streak. When Nathaniel Lowe struck out on a 99.5-mph pitch to end the seventh, it put an emphatic cap on Severino’s night.

With Severino’s pitch count at 94, that was as far as the Yankees would let him go, even in a no-hit bid. Again, this was only his third start after coming off the 60-day injured list with a lat injury, and this is unfortunately someone with a dodgy injury history. The Yankees absolutely need Sevy to be healthy for the playoffs, so while in a perfect world, it would have been fun to see Severino go for the Yankees’ first no-hitter since Corey Kluber last year (in this very same ballpark), it just wasn’t worth the risk — no matter how minor.

All the same, this was just a special Division Series tune-up to watch. Severino should be proud of how utterly incompetent he made the Rangers’ hitters look. The Yankees should be so lucky for this version of Sevy to show up in Game 3 of the ALDS. If he’s pitching like this, then it won’t matter who he’s facing — Guardians, Mariners, Rays, or Field of Dreams Ghosts.

At bat, the Yankees didn’t find too much more success against Martín Pérez, who demonstrated why he’s one of just seven qualified pitchers this year to have a groundball rate of over 50 percent. New York kept putting baserunners on but also kept getting victimized by twin killings. By the seventh inning, they had already tied a franchise record by hitting into six double plays (coincidentally, the last time this happened was also in Arlington in April 2011).

The most unusual DP came when Oswald Peraza worked a walk to lead off the second. He got himself into some baserunning trouble when Aaron Hicks lined out to deep left. Running on the pitch, Peraza was near second base when the ball was caught, and while he didn’t seem to touch the bag, his footwork had him rounding it. After he got back to first, the Rangers got the out for the double play because he was supposed to re-tag second. Whoops; mark that up as a rookie mistake.

The double-play tendencies of the Yankees’ offense cost them quite a few times on Monday, but they did manage to plate the game’s first run in the fifth anyway. After a Peraza single, Hicks threatened to bounce into one of those twin killings, but on this occasion, second baseman Marcus Semien threw the ball away. That allowed Hicks to reach safely, and following an Isiah Kiner-Falefa walk, Kyle Higashioka brought Hicks home with a single to left.

It took until the eighth with the Texas bullpen in for the Yankees to ditch the DP long enough to put more runs on the board. Somewhat amusingly, the hitters around Judge in the lineup were the ones who provided home runs. First, Marwin Gonzalez laced a 400-foot shot to right to make it a 2-1 game. Then after Judge struck out (he was 1-for-4 with an “excuse me” single), Giancarlo Stanton decided that only 400 feet was a little too puny for his liking:

Ho-hum; just a casual 457-foot howitzer from the big guy. That secured Stanton’s seventh career 30-homer season and gave him 377 lifetime, tying Jeff Kent and Norm Cash for 76th on the all-time list. His next one will tie Matt Williams, and two after that are a couple Hall of Famers in Tony Pérez and Orlando Cepeda at 379. Stanton has really begun to enter some lofty territory.

As for the no-hitter, reliever Miguel Castro emerged from his own long layoff with a little rust. He made Adolis García look silly in his first at-bat, but a couple sharp singles (the Rangers’ first hit came from Josh Jung) combined with a slow grounder to give Texas its only run of the night. Smith flew out to end the eighth. Castro will probably get one more appearance on Wednesday to see if he has what it takes to make the playoff bullpen. Scott Effross polished off the combined two-hitter with a perfect ninth.

Buckle up because tomorrow will be a doubleheader in Texas. Jameson Taillon will get the day game while Gerrit Cole gets the nightcap. The action begins at 2:05pm ET.

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