NEW YORK (AP) – After only four starts, Yankees manager Joe Girardi thinks it’s too soon to say if Luis Severino is ready for the rigors of a playoff run.
The rookie right-hander’s teammates, though, see something special in the 21 year old.
Severino earned his first major league win, getting all the support he needed in the first inning Saturday on a pair of home runs from Brett Gardner and Brian McCann as the New York Yankees beat the Cleveland Indians 6-2.
“He has embraced the whole thing,” Yankees outfielder Carlos Beltran said. “He’s been good to watch. He’s just going to get better because he has huge talent.”
Severino (1-2) gave up a one-out homer in the first to fellow rookie Francisco Lindor, but he yielded only two singles the remainder of his six gritty innings, pitching without his best slider.
Severino impressed Girardi during spring training, and that has carried over to the big league mound. Still, thinking about having the youngster pitch during the stretch run could be a bit much to ask.
“I think that’s a little early to put that type of pressure on him,” Girardi said. “But I will say everything we’ve seen from him we like. I think he will even get better.”
Jacoby Ellsbury and Beltran drove in runs in the second off Danny Salazar (11-7), helping the AL East leaders improve to 2-4 against the last place Indians this season.
New York has a chance for a split of the four-game series Sunday, following a pregame ceremony to retire left-hander Andy Pettitte’s No. 46.
The team held festivities before this game, too, retiring the No. 20 of fiery catcher Jorge Posada. The Yankees then showed some spark of their own in the first inning.
Trailing by a run, New York came out swinging. Ellsbury singled and Gardner homered to right. One out later, McCann connected on a drive to right-center.
The three runs gave the Yankees a major league-best 102 runs in the first, the most in any inning this season.
Salazar helped New York add on two runs in the second, when he fielded Ellsbury’s comebacker, spun and made a wild throw to second base.
Salazar recovered to pitch 4 2-3 innings. He was charged with eight hits and five runs – four earned. He struck out six without a walk.
“It seemed like the game sped up on him,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. “Hit the groundball back to him and he didn’t check the runner and then didn’t move his feet and then he kind of kicked it in gear, throwing 97 by the time he came out.”
The Indians put runners on first and second with one out in the third, but Michael Brantley hit a grounder to first baseman Greg Bird, who made a high throw to shortstop Didi Gregorius.
Coming across the bag, Gregoruis had to come up on his toes to glove the ball. Second base umpire Dan Iassogna called Lindor, who was a triple shy of the cycle, out.
Francona objected and was tossed, the second ejection doled out by Iassogna this series. He gave Girardi the heave-ho Thursday night for arguing balls and strikes.
Severino then got out of the inning by striking out Carlos Santana.
“For the first time I feel like I belong,” Severino said. “I feel like I can pitch at this level.”
Lonnie Chisenhall had an RBI single off Dellin Betances in the eighth, ending the big reliever’s scoreless stretch at 18 appearances dating to July 8.
Indians: Cody Anderson (left oblique) will throw three innings in a rehab start Monday at Class-A Lake County. He had a bullpen session Friday.
Yankees: Pitcher Bryan Mitchell, recovering from a broken nose after being hit in the head by a line drive Monday, is set for a bullpen session Sunday. Girardi said Mitchell has stitches that need to be removed before he can pitch in a game. … OF Dustin Ackley (back strain) was working out at first base during warmups. … Before the game the Yankees recalled RHP Branden Pinder from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and designated LHP Chris Capuano for assignment.
During his speech, Posada wished Indians utility man Mike Aviles and his family best wishes as their 4-year-old daughter undergoes treatment for Leukemia. Aviles, watching the ceremony from the Cleveland dugout, pointed to Posada and tipped his cap in appreciation.
Indians: Trevor Bauer (9-10) will be making his fifth career start against New York. He is 1-3 with a 5.85 ERA against the Yankees, including an 8-6 loss on Aug. 13.
Yankees: LHP CC Sabathia (4-9) faces his former team for the second time in less than two weeks. He allowed nine hits and two runs over six innings at Progressive Field.
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