Yankees RHP Luis Severino rebounded from his poor performance in last week's wild-card game to throw seven strong innings in Game 4 of the ALDS as New York staved off elimination for the second straight night with a 7-3 win over the Cleveland Indians on Monday at Yankee Stadium.
Six days after he was pulled after 1/3 of an inning, Severino struck out nine batters and allowed three runs and four hits in seven innings, as the Yankees forced a Game 5.
"A big difference was I go for one inning and I got through six innings," Severino said after the game. "I was feeling great. The location on my pitches was great. So I think that was the big difference."
The 23-year-old Severino, who allowed five of the first six Twins batters to reach base in the wild-card game, retired 11 of the first 12 batters he faced on Monday and was spotted a 5-0 lead thanks to two Cleveland errors.
After he allowed a two-run home run to Carlos Santana in the fourth inning and a solo home run to Roberto Perez in the fifth that made it 5-3 and put the Indians back in the game, Severino retired eight of the final nine batters he faced, including Lonnie Chisenhall on a 100 mph fastball for the second out in the seventh inning.
Sevy's redemption. 💪- New York Yankees (@Yankees) October 10, 2017
7 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 9 K. (113 pitches, 76 strikes) pic.twitter.com/VlebnS2Mcc
"He grew up a lot today," manager Joe Girardi said after the game. "He started to get tired after the six innings and it was the part of the lineup giving him trouble and he was able to get the extra inning, which was good for our bullpen. To me, that's growing up."
Catcher Gary Sanchez, who went 1-for-5 with a solo home run, said Severino's control of his fastball was the key to New York's Game 4 win.
"The main difference tonight is that we wanted to attack with the fastball, use the fastball more," Sanchez said. "He was commanding it very well. Kept it low. And then following that, later in the game, we started using the slider and the changeup, as well."
Girardi said he noticed Severino wasn't trying to overthrow when he stepped on the mound compared to the wild-card game. In the first inning last week, he threw a 100 mph first-pitch fastball for a strike, and later in the at-bat Brian Dozier hit a leadoff home run. On Monday, he started Francisco Lindor with a 96 mph fastball and eventually got him to fly out on the eighth pitch of the at-bat.
"I think he was able to relax a lot more," Girardi said. "He was able to control his adrenaline. I believe the first fastball we saw against him -- for him against Minnesota was 100. Maybe the first one was 96 tonight. He was able to channel things down and make his pitch, as opposed to just trying to power his way through it."