NEW YORK -- All eyes were focused on the mound at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday evening, marking the first time in 344 days that Luis Severino pumped heat from that pitching rubber in a game situation. With three innings in the books, Aaron Boone clapped his hands, voicing his intent
NEW YORK -- All eyes were focused on the mound at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday evening, marking the first time in 344 days that Luis Severino pumped heat from that pitching rubber in a game situation. With three innings in the books, Aaron Boone clapped his hands, voicing his intent to call the evening a success.
Severino shook his head, telling his manager to disregard the radar gun readings. Boone acquiesced and Severino snatched the ball, finishing four scoreless innings in an 8-0 victory over the Angels -- a key development for a club that will count on its ace continuing to contribute into October.
• Box score
“It was exciting,” Severino said. “It was fun, going out there to hear the fans, being around all my teammates. Being there and trying to win games. I felt great out there.”
Shelved by injuries since the first week of March, Severino permitted two hits and two walks while striking out four, making his first appearance in the Bronx since last year’s Game 3 of the American League Division Series against the Red Sox.
“It’s another huge step [coming] back for him,” Boone said. “I’m really excited for him and how well he threw the ball. What I loved was how in control he was with his delivery. The stuff was very good, but it wasn’t like he was reaching for it, trying to do it. He really stayed within himself the entire night and gave us four outstanding innings.”
Gleyber Torres hit his 38th home run, a three-run shot, to highlight a six-run fourth inning as the Yankees (99-53) matched their season high of 46 games over .500. With their magic number to clinch the American League East at one, the Yankees can secure the division title Wednesday with a win or a Rays loss against the Dodgers in Los Angeles.
It’s Sevy season
Severino’s saga began on the afternoon of March 5, when he was scratched from a spring start against the Braves with what an MRI revealed to be right rotator cuff inflammation. Severino was initially expected to return to the Majors by the end of April, but he sustained a Grade 2 right lat strain while rehabbing the original injury.
“It's been a long time, been a long road back,” Severino said. “I'm here now and I'm healthy. I can help my team now.”
Severino threw 67 pitches, generating nine swings and misses. He averaged 96.6 mph with his fastball and maxed at 98.8 mph, according to Statcast. Severino threw 37 fastballs, 19 sliders and 11 changeups, limiting the Angels to two hits and two walks. Those numbers are even more efficient when considering that leadoff hitter Brian Goodwin worked a 12-pitch walk.
“[Boone] thought I was getting a little bit tired because he saw a couple of 93s, 94 up there,” Severino said. “I said, 'No, I'm not done. You want to see more? I can go there and throw 98. It's not a problem.' He was going to take me out. I said, 'No, I'm good. Give me one more inning.'”
Boone believes that Severino could make two more starts before the end of the regular season, which would prepare Severino to pitch in the playoffs, either as a starter or a reliever.
“I’m very encouraged,” catcher Austin Romine said. “That's Sevy out there. We need Sevy where we're going. He's pitched some big games for us and we look forward to having him pitch some more big games for us.”
Jonathan Loaisiga earned the victory with two scoreless, hitless innings. Stephen Tarpley, Cory Gearrin and Chance Adams held the Angels to four hits the rest of the way, finishing the Yanks’ ninth shutout of the year.
Gio Urshela and Cameron Maybin stroked run-scoring singles in the second inning off Angels reliever Jose Suarez, staking Severino to an early lead, and the Yankees blew the game open by sending 11 men to the plate in a six-run fourth inning.
DJ LeMahieu made it a three-run lead with a two-out RBI single and, after an Aaron Judge walk, Didi Gregorius ripped a two-run double down the right-field line. Torres followed with his team-leading 38th homer, concluding the scoring in the contest.
LeMahieu finished 2-for-4, his Major League-leading 59th multi-hit game of the season. It is the most by a Yankee since Derek Jeter (64) and Robinson Canó (60) in 2012.
Next man up
The glee over Severino’s successful return was clouded by the Yanks’ postgame announcement that right-hander Dellin Betances sustained a partial tear of his left Achilles tendon, likely ending his season.
Boone said that Betances suffered the injury by landing awkwardly on the Rogers Centre mound during his season debut on Sunday. Surgery has not been immediately recommended, but it is not being ruled out for Betances, who is seeking a second opinion.
“I'm just sad, man,” Severino said. “We've been working together since Spring Training. He's been working hard to get back here. He was so happy in Toronto when he pitched that game. It's hard. It's really hard to see a guy like that, that hustles and works, have something happen to him.”
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and Facebook.