His fastball was blazing, his off-speed was befuddling and he provided efficiency one night after the Yankee bullpen cost them a game.
Luis Severino put forth a sterling performance Wednesday night in the Bronx, spinning eight shutout innings in the Yankees 3-0 win over the Royals, arguably the best start of the 23-year-old’s season, the kind of outing that represents hope for the Yankees of the righthander becoming a long-term ace. It was the longest scoreless outing of his career.
Severino allowed four hits and one walk while striking out seven, tossing a career-high 114 pitches in the gem. He did not allow a runner past second base all night, and Brandon Moss was the only Royal to reach second with his two-out double in the fifth. Whit Merrifield then grounded out to short to end the inning.
Through nine starts this season Severino has a 3.11 ERA and 61 strikeouts against 14 walks.
Dellin Betances pitched a perfect ninth, striking out the side to earn his fourth save of the season since Aroldis Chapman went down earlier this month with left rotator-cuff inflammation. The save was Betances’ third in the last four days and he now has a 0.57 ERA this season.
PLAY OF THE GAME
It came on the first pitch of the game. Jacoby Ellsbury chased down a fly ball from Alcides Escobar, making the catch and crashing into the wall in center. Ellsbury ended up leaving the game before the second inning with a concussion and a sprained neck from the collision, but he remained in the game for the final two outs of the top of the first.
Didi Gregorius hit a solo homer to lead off the bottom of the third inning, and the Yanks never relinquished the lead. The homer was Gregorius’ third of the season, and he finished the night 2-for-3. He doubled to begin the seventh and scored on Brett Gardner’s single.
STAR OF THE GAME
Severino, whose changeup looked sharp and who had been better on the road this season than at home. Entering Wednesday Severino had a 5.09 ERA over his first four Stadium starts of the season. That ERA dropped to 3.90 after his terrific start. His road ERA in four starts is 2.25. His next scheduled start is Memorial Day in Baltimore.
STAT OF THE GAME
13. That’s how many games the Yankees had gone without one of their starting pitchers completing seven innings, a streak Severino snapped on Wednesday.
Chase Headley, who went 0-for-3 with a strikeout. Headley will continue to be under scrutiny as he struggles – 6 for his last 59 – while the Gleyber Torres hype train rolls on. Torres made his second start at third base for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Wednesday and went 0-for-3 with two walks and a stolen base.
Gary Sanchez, who caught Severino and helped create the Yankees’ second run of the game in the sixth. He led off with a single, stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by Sal Perez. Sanchez then scored on Matt Holliday’s sacrifice fly to deep right.
Girardi on Betances settling questions about his capabilities as a closer: “I didn’t really have any doubt that he can do this.”
Thursday, May 25, Yankees vs. Royals
RHP Masahiro Tanaka (5-3, 6.56) vs. RHP Miguel Almonte (N/A)