Severino outduels King Felix, Gardner homers as Yankees beat Mariners 4-1

The Yankees were back out on the west coast, a region that they have struggled mightily in, on Thursday night to face the Mariners in the first game of a four game set. Yankees All-Star Luis Severino was on the hill, and found himself in his second consecutive tough matchup against an ace. This time it was Felix Hernandez, after having to go toe to toe with Chris Sale in his last start. Severino would outduel King Felix, as both men were tremendous on the mound and both gave their teams seven innings. The Yanks finally got to Hernandez in the seventh, and were lifted by a Brett Gardner home run and aided by a few insurance runs to take the series opener in Seattle 4-1.

Photo Credit: AP Elaine Thompson

Severino would have to dance out of danger in the first, letting up hits to Ben Gamel and Nelson Cruz. He got himself out of the early jam after striking out Kyle Seager with two outs and two on to complete the scoreless first inning. The game would remain scoreless through three, as both pitchers seemed to have their A+ stuff early on, especially Hernandez.

Severino would once again find himself in immediate danger in the fourth, as a double and a base hit to lead off the inning put runners on the corners with nobody out. Severino would bear down and get two huge outs, a pop out and a flyout to shallow center that forced Seager to hold at third. Severino would walk the catcher Mike Zunino on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases and send up leadoff hitter Jean Segura. Segura and Severino would battle it out in what ended up being an eight pitch at-bat. Sevy would grind it out and win the battle, getting Segura to ground out to short to end the threat and keeping the game scoreless after four.

Photo Credit: AP | Elaine Thompson
The Yankees could not get anything going against King Felix through the first five, only mustering one hit and two walks off the veteran ace. The Yanks offense looked hopeless headed to the sixth, and were in need of a spark. Brett Gardner would provide just the spark the Yankees needed, as he sent a 2-1 fastball into the right center field seats for a solo shot, putting the Yanks on the board. This was Gardner's first home run in the month of July, and his sixteenth of the season. Hernandez would bounce back after the homer and strike out Gary and Judge to get out of the inning with minimal damage. Sevy worked a perfect sixth to keep the score at 1-0 headed to the seventh.
Photo Credit: AP | Elaine Thompson
New Yankee Todd Frazier could not get his first hit as a Yankee with Didi Gregorius on second, popping out to end the inning. Severino would go back out for the seventh, with new and former Yankee David Robertson warming up in the bullpen. Severino would strike out Zunino to start the inning, but would let up a line drive base hit to Segura to put the go ahead run at the plate.

Likely being one hit or walk away from being pulled, Severino would strike out Gamel looking, and get Robinson Cano to fly out to right on a changeup on his 100th pitch of the game, to complete his night with his seventh shutout inning, and keep the Yanks up by one.  

The Yankees set themselves up nicely to get some insurance runs before handing the game over to the bullpen, as Chase Headley registered a base hit and Gardner reached on an error, bringing up Gary, who would walk and set the table for Judge with the bases loaded and only one out. After looking at two out of the zone, Judge punched an inside fastball to right field for a base hit, scoring Headley and giving the Yanks a 2-0 lead. The Mariners would stay in the game however after getting Matt Holliday to ground into his second double play of the game, leaving the bases loaded.

Photo Credit: AP Elaine Thompson
Despite warming up in the seventh, David Robertson would not be the first Yankee out of the bullpen, but rather Dellin Betances, who had to face the heart of the Seattle order. After getting Nelson Cruz to fly out on the first pitch he saw, Betances hit the next batter on a wild breaking ball that nearly went behind the hitter.

Betances would then give up a base hit to put runners on first and second with only one away, marking yet another outing where he was unable to produce a clean inning, but would somehow find his way out of it without allowing a run. Betances got a force out at second and a strikeout of Dyson to get out of the inning and keep the Mariners off the scoreboard.

The Yanks were threatening once again in the top of the ninth, as Didi picked up his second hit of the day, and Jersey boy Todd Frazier picked up a base hit to left, his first hit as a Yankee. After an Ellsbury flyout, Headley was up with two outs and two on. After a ball. that was hit in the hole, Cano was forced to make a tough throw from the outfield grass. The ball was not caught by the first baseman, as the ball went to the backstop and scored both Didi and Todd Frazier to give the Yanks a 4-0 lead.

In what was an error charged to Cano, it appeared as if the first baseman did not make an attempt to catch the ball that was not that far off line. The Yanks would head to the bottom of the ninth up 4-0, with struggling closer Aroldis Chapman set to appear in a non save situation. 

Chapman would walk the first batter in the ninth as he usually does, but would get Segura and Gamel to both strike out on sliders. Chapman could not complete the shutout for the Yanks however, as former Yankee Robinson Cano placed a ball into the right center field gap for an RBI double and the first run of the game for Seattle, keeping them alive and making it a 4-1 game. Chapman would recover, and get Cruz to fly out to right, to give the Yanks the victory. 

This was a big win for the Yankees, and more specifically Luis Severino, who threw the fastest recorded pitch by a starting pitcher in 2017 tonight, while also throwing seven innings of shutout baseball. Severino has shown in his last two starts that as of now, he is the ace of this pitching staff and has shown no signs of slowing down after his solid first half. The Yanks improve to 48-45, and are back at it again with another late start Friday night vs Seattle, as C.C Sabathia will get the ball.

Winning Pitcher: Luis Severino: (6-4, 3.21 ERA): 7.0 IP, 8 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K
Losing Pitcher: Felix Hernandez: (5-4, 3.88 ERA): 7.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 9 K

Brett Gardner: 1-4, HR (16), RBI
Chase Headley: 2-4, R
Aaron Judge: 1-3, RBI, BB
Didi Gregorius: 2-3, 2B, BB

Article by: Matt Luzzi


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