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Severino's inspiring start lifts Yanks to series win

Backed by key contributions, righty fans 11, improves to 8-1; club goes 5-2 vs. 2017 ALCS foes
MLB.com

NEW YORK -- Yankees starter Luis Severino retired the first 11 batters he faced before allowing a single to Jose Altuve in the series finale against the Astros on Wednesday night, and the right-hander's dominance did not end there.

Severino went seven sparkling innings, allowing two runs on four hits while tying a season high with 11 strikeouts, to lead the Yankees to a 5-3 victory and a series win. The Yanks finished the regular-season series 5-2 against the Astros, who defeated them in seven games in last year's American League Championship Series.

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NEW YORK -- Yankees starter Luis Severino retired the first 11 batters he faced before allowing a single to Jose Altuve in the series finale against the Astros on Wednesday night, and the right-hander's dominance did not end there.

Severino went seven sparkling innings, allowing two runs on four hits while tying a season high with 11 strikeouts, to lead the Yankees to a 5-3 victory and a series win. The Yanks finished the regular-season series 5-2 against the Astros, who defeated them in seven games in last year's American League Championship Series.

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The Yankees' ace turned in his ninth straight quality start and 10th of the year in picking up his AL-leading eighth win of the season.

Video: HOU@NYY: Severino K's 11 over 7 frames for 8th win

"He's a guy that goes out there day in and day out and proves to the league that he's not going to be an easy at-bat," center fielder Aaron Hicks said. "That's what aces do."

Severino retired eight of his 11 strikeout victims on his slider.

"I was feeling today in the bullpen [that the slider] was great," Severino said. "When I got on the mound, I was throwing it where I wanted to throw it for strikes or for balls. It was in good shape."

"First of all, the fastball sets it up, obviously," manager Aaron Boone said. "It's an elite, mid-upper-90s fastball that he commands and then just works that slider off of it. And the thing just seems to go forward for so long and just has that late dive. That's why he's an ace in this sport. When he's commanding it like that, he's really tough."

Video: HOU@NYY: Boone on Severino, taking series in win

Severino's only mistake of the night came on a 98.5-mph fastball at the top of the zone that Max Stassi launched 423 feet to center field, as projected by Statcast™, for a two-run homer in the fifth inning.

"He can land his slider pretty much whenever he wants," Stassi said. "He can throw it for strikes, he can expand on you. He'll expand early, he'll throw the slider later for a strike. He has a good mix. He throws that changeup, too, and that's another wrench in there. He's just a very good pitcher, and he didn't have too many mistakes tonight."

The Yankees have now won 11 of Severino's 12 starts, which is the most team wins in a pitcher's starts in the Majors. Since giving up five runs in five innings against the Red Sox on April 10, Severino is 6-0 and has logged a 1.95 ERA.

"I thought that was as good as he was almost with his shutout against Houston [on May 2]. He's been good since then, but I thought today he was really sharp, really crisp," Boone said. "Overall, I thought he was really good. Mixed in some changeups along with the fastball-slider combination that I felt like he had pretty dialed in from the get-go."

Video: HOU@NYY: Stanton plates Hicks with a sac fly in 1st

Giancarlo Stanton got the Yankees on the board in the first inning against starter Dallas Keuchel, settling for a sacrifice fly to center field when he was robbed of a base hit on a diving catch by Jake Marisnick. In the fifth, Gary Sanchez snapped an 0-for-19 streak with a go-ahead two-run single to right field.

Video: HOU@NYY: Sanchez pokes a 2-run single to right in 5th

"Anytime you get a hit, you're going to feel good," Sanchez said. "The important thing there is that I got that hit, and I was able to put the team ahead. That's the most important thing there, getting a hit, contributing, helping the team."

Video: HOU@NYY: Gregorius plates Torres on a single to left

Didi Gregorius then knocked in a run in the sixth on a single to right, after Gleyber Torres led off with a double, to chase Keuchel before Hicks snapped an 0-for-16 streak with an RBI double to left off reliever Collin McHugh. Keuchel was charged with four runs on seven hits, while walking three and striking out seven. He lost to the Yankees for the second time this month.

Video: HOU@NYY: Romine scores from first on Hicks' double

Sanchez, Hicks pick good time to end slumps

Aroldis Chapman was called on in the ninth inning to close out the game. After allowing a run on a double to left by Stassi, the closer recorded his 12th save of the season by striking out George Springer to end the game.

Video: HOU@NYY: Chapman hurls 102-mph pitch, earns 12th save

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
With runners on first and second in the seventh, Stassi hit a slow chopper to third. As Miguel Andujar charged the ball, he collided with Yuli Gurriel, who knocked the third baseman to the ground. The Yankees' training staff came out to check on Andujar, who said he was hit on the side of his head, but he was OK to stay in the game.

Video: HOU@NYY: Gurriel ruled out after running into Andujar

Gregorius was also there to check on his teammate. As the two separated to go back to their respective positions, Andujar had a smile on his face.

"He was just having a little fun with me there," Andujar said. "He was asking if I was OK, then proceeded to ask me a funny question. That's why I was laughing. He was asking me, "What's one plus one?'"

Video: HOU@NYY: Sanchez, Severino, Boone, Andujar on victory

HE SAID IT
"It helps out we see each other just in May, and hopefully we'll see each other in October." -- Keuchel

UP NEXT
The Yankees will travel to Baltimore on Thursday to open a four-game set against the Orioles and an 11-game road trip. Sonny Gray (3-4, 5.98 ERA) will get the ball in the opener. In his last time out, the right-hander took a loss against the Angels, allowing five runs on seven hits through 3 2/3 innings. Gray is 1-3 with a 5.40 ERA in his career at Camden Yards. Andrew Cashner (2-6, 5.07) will get the start for the Orioles. First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m. ET.

Mandy Bell is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York.

New York Yankees, Luis Severino