CHICAGO -- Entering Wednesday, Luis Severino had hit a rough patch. The young ace was mired in his worst stretch of the season, a five-start span in which he had an 8.28 ERA and could not complete six innings.But Severino put that behind him with seven solid innings in New
CHICAGO -- Entering Wednesday, Luis Severino had hit a rough patch. The young ace was mired in his worst stretch of the season, a five-start span in which he had an 8.28 ERA and could not complete six innings.
But Severino put that behind him with seven solid innings in New York's finale with the White Sox, pitching the Yankees to a 7-3 win and a series sweep. Not only that, the Yankees' three straight wins come on the heels of their season-long five-game losing streak and sweep by the Red Sox.
"For us to come in here and grind out these wins is huge," manager Aaron Boone said. "We're obviously in a tough stretch right now, trying to get guys rest as well, and for us to grind through these when it's a little bit difficult for us right now, yeah, I'm really proud of these guys for bouncing back."
Severino earned his career-high 15th win with the big performance, and he was backed by a six-run second inning that was capped by Giancarlo Stanton's grand slam.
Severino started shakily, allowing two runs four batters into his outing. Jose Abreu, who tied Tuesday's game in the 10th with a two-run homer, contributed to the rocky start with an RBI double, his 33rd of the season.
The first inning has troubled Severino over his last couple of starts. Including Wednesday, he has given up a first-inning run in four of his last five outings, and eight first-inning runs overall in that period.
"I'm trying to make good pitches, but I think the first couple innings, I'm leaving my fastball a little bit up to both hitters, righties and lefties," Severino said. "Getting those runs after the first inning, I felt I could do more, a better job, than the first inning. ... A lot of credit to the guys that helped me when I was in need tonight."
After that, however, Severino really got rolling. After a visit by pitching coach Larry Rothschild settled him down, he retired 13 of the next 14 hitters and got through the next six innings with relative ease. His only other speed bump came in the fifth, when Tim Anderson hit a solo home run.
Severino got through his seven innings on 109 pitches, working much more efficiently than his 115-pitch, 5 2/3-inning start against the Red Sox. He didn't walk a batter -- the fifth time this season he hasn't handed out free passes -- and struck out eight.
Boone and Severino both pointed to Severino's slider as his most effective weapon on Wednesday night. Severino threw 45 sliders and induced 11 swinging strikes on his breaking pitch.
"I really felt like the tilt on it was pretty good all night, especially as it wore on," Boone said. "Obviously, it's such a devastating pitch for him, so to see that return to form was good."
Wednesday's outing marked a big step forward for Severino, and with Boston's huge division lead, the Yankees will need him to perform down the stretch. That said, Severino said there's still room for improvement, although he maintained that his confidence never wavered during the last month.
"I was trying to do my job. I was 100 percent," he said. "It wasn't like I was 80 or 70 percent, I was doing my best out there, and I was getting hit. A lot of good pitchers have been through those couple of outings, so I just need to keep working and keep getting better."
• An umpire had a moth pulled out of his ear
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Stanton salami: Stanton provided most of the offense thanks to his sixth career grand slam. The home run, his 27th of the year, capped a six-run second inning off White Sox starter Lucas Giolito. The Yankees sent nine men to the plate, and all six who reached base scored. More >
The Yankees recorded their first road sweep of at least three games since April 27-29, against the Angels. New York is 19-5 against the American League Central this season.
The Yankees head home to start a four-game series with the Rangers on Thursday at 7:05 p.m. ET. J.A. Happ (11-6, 4.05 ERA) will come off the disabled list after recovering from hand, foot and mouth disease to make his second start in pinstripes. Happ tossed six innings of one-ball in his first start as a Yankee on July 29 against the Royals. Ariel Jurado (2-1, 4.02) goes for Texas.
Max Gelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago.