Year after rough WC, Sevy K's 7 over 4-plus innings

October 4th, 2018

NEW YORK -- had a chance at redemption following last October's American League Wild Card Game debacle. He made the most of it.

The Yankees' ace was dominant for most of his four-plus innings on Wednesday night, airing it all out to give the Yanks exactly what they needed as they marched to a 7-2 win over the Athletics.

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The Yankees move on to face the Red Sox in the AL Division Series, which begins at Fenway Park on Friday at 7:32 p.m. ET.

Severino held Oakland without a hit through four frames at Yankee Stadium, walking four and striking out seven. He returned for the fifth and gave up singles to the first two batters, putting the potential tying runs on base before turning a 2-0 lead over to , who retired three straight to escape the jam.

:: AL Wild Card Game schedule and results ::

A year ago, Severino failed to get out of the first inning, giving up three runs on four hits, two of them leaving Yankee Stadium. He was pulled by then-manager Joe Girardi after recording just one out, but the Yanks' bullpen bailed him out with 8 2/3 innings of one-run ball in an 8-4 win over Minnesota.

"I think last year, my first time in a playoff game, I was too excited," said Severino. "I was going to go to the mound and treat it like a regular game, hitting my spots and trying to get batters out."

Severino, who struggled in the second half of the season and was considered a controversial choice to start the AL Wild Card Game over J.A. Happ and , came out dealing. Severino retired the Athletics in order in the first inning, striking out a pair of batters. He fanned three more in the second, walking a batter during the inning.

drew a leadoff walk in the third before Severino retired the next three batters, giving him six strikeouts and a pitch count of 55 through three innings. The Athletics' biggest threat came in the fourth, thanks to third baseman 's one-out throwing error and a pair of walks, including a two-out free pass to . Severino believed he had Laureano struck out on the 2-2 pitch, then again on the full-count offering, but home-plate umpire Jim Wolf called both just off the plate.

With the bases loaded and the Yankee Stadium crowd on its feet, Severino pumped a 100-mph fastball past Semien to escape the jam, letting out a primal roar while pumping his fist before heading back to the dugout.

"It was just a lot of emotions that come out," said batterymate of Severino's excitement in the fourth inning. "This was a win-or-go-home game. It comes out naturally. I see that and get excited myself. He did a good job."

Severino had thrown 81 pitches when he came back out for the fifth, but and Nick Martini opened the inning with back-to-back singles, bringing manager Aaron Boone out of the dugout for a pitching change. Severino, who was jeered off the mound in this very game a year ago, exited to a big ovation from the packed Stadium, retreating to the dugout to become a spectator like those very same fans.

Severino loved what he saw, as Betances got and to hit shallow fly balls before striking out , stranding both of his runners on base. Severino clapped excitedly as Betances walked toward the dugout, then greeted his teammate with an enthusiastic high-five and a hug.