Severino struggles as Toronto's bats awaken in series opener

Seeking their first three game winning streak of the season, the last-place Toronto Blue Jays invaded Yankee Stadium for a matchup against Luis Severino and the Yankees in the first game of the season between these two heated rivals.  Severino was not sharp in this one and more closely resembled his 2016 self tonight rather than the version we had seen from him his last few times out.  Toronto came into this game with one of the lowest scoring offenses in Major League Baseball, but were able to break out tonight and coast to an easy win behind home runs from Ryan Goins, Chis Coghlan and Jose Bautista, as well as a strong seven inning performance from Marco Estrada.

AP Photo/Kathy Willens

After allowing just three hits in seven shutout innings in Boston last week, Severino was immediately in some trouble allowing a leadoff single to Kevin Pillar and then after an Ezequiel Carrera pop out in foul territory, Jose Bautista ripped a single to left and the Jays had first and second with only one out. Not the way Severino hoped to start. The young righty was able to escape the jam, however, getting both Kendrys Morales and Justin Smoak to flyout out to left field.  

The Yankees weren't able to do anything against Estrada in the bottom half of the inning, being retired in order on just ten pitches. Estrada's ability to fool hitters was on full display when he blew Matt Holliday away on a fastball that was clocked at just 92 miles-per-hour. 

Luis Severino just didn't seem right from the start of this one as he backed up his tough first inning by allowing a leadoff single to Devon Travis in the second followed by a long home run by Ryan Goins to put Toronto up 2-0. Next up was recently activated backup catcher Luke Maile who walked on five pitches.  For whatever reason, Severino couldn't seem to locate his pitches in the early going. He was able to battle back and retire the next three hitters, however, to prevent any further damage, but carried a pitch count of 42 into the third inning. 

The Yankees finally got something going against Estrada in the bottom of the third when Austin Romine hit a soft grounder up the middle and was able to reach for a single.  After a Ronald Torreyes fielder's choice and Brett Gardner single put runners on the corner with two outs, Didi Gregorius came up with a chance to drive in the Yankees' first run of the night, but struck out on a foul tip that was held onto by Luke Maile to end the threat. 

Luis Severino worked a quick five pitch top of the fourth inning and the Yankees bats went right back to work in the bottom half of the frame.  Both Starlin Castro and Jacoby Ellsbury hit one out singles and the table was set for Aaron Judge who smoked a single of his own to right field, scoring Castro, and cutting the Toronto lead to just one run. The rally was cut short right there, though, when Greg Bird hit a chopper over the mound that went for an inning-ending double play.  

For as good as Severino looked following the Goins home run – he had retired eight straight – the fifth inning quickly became a mess after a Chris Coghlan walk and then a walk issue to Kevin Pillar.  Ezequiel Carrera laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt and the Jays were again in business with runners on second and third with one out and Jose Bautista coming to the plate.  Severino almost allowed a cheap run on a wild pitch, but Coghlan did not advance from third and Bautista struck out on the next pitch. Kendrys Morales was up next and smoked a ball to left but Gardner was able to retreat back and make the catch just in front of the warning track to end the threat. 

To start the sixth, Severino was no better, allowing a soft single to Justin Smoak off of Bird's glove (which admittedly should have been caught), but then a laser ground rule double to Devon Travis put runners on second and third with nobody out.  Goins was up next and hit a deep fly ball to straightaway center which Ellsbury was able to track down, but after an awkward flip to Judge on his way down, both runners were able to score on the sacrifice fly and the Blue Jays were up 4-1. A lead they would not relinquish the rest of the evening.  Severino then retired Luke Maile on a fly ball to right center but Chris Coghlan would blast the first pitch he saw into the seats in right, giving the Jays a 5-1 lead. Severino's night was subsequently over after a rough 5.2 innings pitched. Recently promoted Luis Cessa was called upon to end the inning. 

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The Yankees attempted to climb back into things in the bottom of the sixth via a one out rally by Starlin Castro (single) and Jacoby Ellsbury (reached on catchers interference), but Judge was retired on a soft fly out to left and Greg Bird flew out to center to end the threat.  Through six innings, Estrada was at 93 pitches and only one earned run allowed. 

Toronto would tack on two more runs in the seventh via a long two run home run from the struggling Jose Bautista and put this game all but out of reach.  Luis Cessa remained in the game the rest of the way and didn't allow another run, but the damage was already done.

Danny Barnes would come on in relief of Estrada and pitch the eighth and ninth innings to close out the game.

AP Photo/Kathy Willens

Winning Pitcher:  Marco Estrada (1-1, 2.43 ERA): 7.0 IP, 7 H, 0 BB, 5 Ks, 1 ER

Losing Pitcher: Luis Severino  (2-2, 3.86 ERA): 5.2 IP, 8 H, 2 BB, 3 Ks, 5 ERs, 3 HR

Starlin Castro: 2-4
Aaron Judge: 1-4. RBI
Luis Cessa: 3.1 IP, 2 ER, 1 HR
Jose Bautista: 2-4, HR (2), 2 RBIs, BB
Ryan Goins: 1-3, HR (2), 4 RBIs

Article by: Andrew Natalizio


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