NEW YORK -- Perhaps the Astros will get another shot at the Yankees in October for the second year in a row. They can only hope a postseason rematch would go better than their seven regular-season meetings against the Bombers.Luis Severino dominated the Astros for the second time this month,
NEW YORK -- Perhaps the Astros will get another shot at the Yankees in October for the second year in a row. They can only hope a postseason rematch would go better than their seven regular-season meetings against the Bombers.
Luis Severino dominated the Astros for the second time this month, striking out 11 batters in seven innings -- including seven of the first nine batters he faced -- to lead the Yankees to a 5-3 win Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium.
"He was really good, and he is really good," Astros manager AJ Hinch said. "We said before the game, when he's locked in the strike zone, he's really tough to hit. All three pitches worked tonight. He threw a few more changeups tonight than he did at our place. He's elite for a reason, and I think we saw why tonight."
After taking three of four games from the Astros in Houston at the beginning of the month, the Yankees won two of three at Yankee Stadium to improve to 5-2 against Houston this year. The Astros beat the Yankees in seven games in last year's American League Championship Series.
"It helps out we see each other just in May, and hopefully we'll see each other in October," Astros starter Dallas Keuchel said. "There's a lot of baseball left, and that's why we play series like this, to see where we're at, at the end of May, and see what kind of adjustments we need to make and go on from there."
Severino (8-1) retired the first 11 he faced before Jose Altuve singled. The Astros took a 2-1 lead in the fifth when Max Stassi crushed a 98.5-mph fastball and sailed it 423 feet over the left-field wall for a two-run homer. Stassi added an RBI double in the ninth off Albertin Chapman.
"Off a guy like [Severino], he's one of the best pitchers in the league, and he doesn't make too many mistakes, so I was just looking for something elevated a little bit, whether it was a slider or a fastball," Stassi said. "And just swing."
Keuchel (3-7) was rolling at that point in the game, having sent down 11 of the last 12 batters he had faced after surviving a 28-pitch first inning.
"I thought when he got out of the first inning having allowed one run, that was a big boost for him," Hinch said. "He threw the ball very well for a couple of innings after that."
Center fielder Jake Marisnick played a huge role in allowing Keuchel to limit the damage in the first. With runners at the corners and no outs, Marisnick covered 63 feet in 3.8 seconds to hold Giancarlo Stanton to just a sacrifice fly on a soft liner to right-center and prevent a big inning. Statcast™ rated it a five-star catch.
The fifth wound up being a frustrating inning for Keuchel. A bloop single by Aaron Judge and walk to Stanton loaded the bases with two outs for Gary Sanchez, who rolled a single through an open spot on the right side of the infield for a two-run single that put the Yankees ahead, 3-2. It also broke Sanchez's 0-for-19 drought.
"I made the pitches I wanted to and felt good about it, but the results aren't there," Keuchel said. "One or two pitches here or there through the first 11 outings is the difference between 3-7 and 7-3. I'm going to keep churning."
Keuchel allowed four runs on seven hits and struck out seven batters in five-plus innings to lose to the Yankees for the second time this year. Keuchel held the Yankees to three runs in seven innings May 2 in Houston -- the game in which Severino shut out the Astros.
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Severino ended his night by striking out World Series Most Valuable Player George Springer -- who was pinch-hitting for Marisnick -- swinging to end the seventh and strand runners at first and second base. Springer, who is 1-for-15 in his career against Severino with seven strikeouts, was representing the tying run.
"We had a couple of times where we had the tying run at the plate because [reliever Collin McHugh, who threw three innings] had kept us close," Hinch said.
Altuve hit .469 (15-for-32) during the Astros' road trip, including five multi-hit games. He's hitting .402 on the road this year, which is the highest road batting average in the AL.
The Astros return home to face the Red Sox at 7:10 p.m. CT on Thursday at Minute Maid Park, with right-hander Lance McCullers (6-3, 3.98 ERA) on the mound against lefty Thomas Pomeranz (1-2, 6.75 ERA). Of the 28 earned runs McCullers has allowed in 11 starts this year, more than half (15) have come in two outings -- eight on April 11 at Minnesota and seven on Saturday at Cleveland. He's never beaten the Red Sox in five outings.
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.