A strong start by Luis Severino combined with three home runs propelled the Yankees to a 6-1 win over the Rays on Wednesday night. >> Box score
Severino lasted six innings, allowing one run on four hits while striking out nine Tampa Bay hitters. His ERA for the season now stands at 2.98.
Adeiny Hechavarria put the Rays in the lead in the top of the fifth with a solo home run, but the Yankees rally quickly in the bottom half. Jacoby Ellsbury led the frame off the with a walk before Aaron Hicks singled. With one out, Aaron Judge clubbed a two-run double to put the Yankees in front.
In the sixth, the Yankees broke things open with three homers. Starlin Castro belted a solo shot to start the inning and then Greg Bird went deep against reliever Xavier Cedeno. With Chase Headley on base, Hicks clubbed a two-run homer to round out the scoring in the stanza.
Chasen Shreve, Chad Green, Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman combined to throw three scoreless innings in relief.
The Yankees put together exactly the type of effort they would want next Tuesday if they are hosting the American League Wild Card game. New York received six innings of one-run ball from Severino, three home runs to pace the offense and rock solid relief.
Severino finishes the regular season with a 14-6 record, 2.98 ERA and 230 strikeouts in 193 1/3 innings. Severino is the youngest right-handed pitcher since Dwight Gooden in 1985 to record 16+ one-run or fewer starts.
The Yankees' homers came from three players - Bird, Castro and Hicks - the club hopes can keep it going through the postseason. With each of them performing well, it puts less pressure on the middle of the order bats, making the Yankees lineup that much harder to navigate.
Three innings of scoreless relief continues the Yankees' bullpen's fine stretch this month. Best of all for the Yankees, Betances set down three straight batters without a hiccup. Having Betances sharp rounds out a group of five dominating relievers, which is a bonafide plus in the playoffs.
The Yankees close out their series with the Rays on Thursday at 7:05 p.m. at Yankee Stadium. Sonny Gray (10-11, 3.31 ERA) will take the ball and face Jake Faria (5-4, 3.33 ERA).