Yankees take season series from Astros
NEW YORK — That's it for Yankees-Astros this season.
At least until October.
Luis Severino struck out 11 in seven overpowering innings, beating longtime Yankees nemesis Dallas Keuchel for the second time this month as New York topped Houston 5-3 on Wednesday night.
Gary Sanchez snapped an 0-for-19 slump with a two-run single and the Yankees took two of three from the reigning World Series champions this week to win the season series 5-2. Houston defeated New York in the 2017 AL Championship Series, with the home team winning all seven games.
''Look, it's great to go up against the best and have some success, no question about it,'' first-year Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. ''But I would say it's just a long season. I think both sides have a lot of confidence that, yeah, we have a chance to have special seasons.''
Severino (8-1) allowed four hits, including Max Stassi's two-run homer, and walked one in winning his sixth consecutive decision.
The ace righthander, who hasn't lost since April 10 against the Red Sox at Fenway Park, threw a five-hitter with 10 strikeouts for his first career complete game in a 4-0 victory over Keuchel at Houston on May 2.
''He's elite for a reason and I think we saw why tonight,'' Astros manager AJ Hinch said. ''They're a good team and you have to play well to beat them. And there are a couple of games here we should have beat them.''
David Robertson struck out two in a scoreless eighth and Aroldis Chapman got three outs for his 12th save in 13 chances.
Stassi, subbing for injured catcher Brian McCann, hit an RBI double with two outs in the ninth before Chapman fanned George Springer to end it.
''Hopefully, we'll see each other in October,'' Keuchel said.
After dominating the Yankees for years, Keuchel (3-7) dropped his third straight start against them — including the playoffs. The lefthander gave up four runs and seven hits in five-plus innings.
Keuchel entered 6-4 with a 1.82 ERA and two complete games in 10 outings against New York, including three postseason starts.
''He's got good stuff. He moves the ball. He knows how to pitch,'' said Yankees catcher Austin Romine, who scored twice. ''Anytime you see someone a lot, you start to pick up on some tendencies.''
The 2015 AL Cy Young Award winner walked two batters in the first inning, and center fielder Jake Marisnick made a diving catch on a sacrifice fly by slumping slugger Giancarlo Stanton.
Sanchez rolled a two-run single through an open right side with two outs in the fifth to put the Yankees ahead, 3-2.
''That pitch right there was a sinker outside and I just threw the bat at it. So I got lucky there,'' Sanchez said through a translator.
Gleyber Torres doubled to start the sixth and scored from third on Didi Gregorius's single through a drawn-in infield, chasing Keuchel. Aaron Hicks looped a two-out RBI double off Collin McHugh that got past a diving Marwin Gonzalez in left field.
''That's just how it's kind of going — tough breaks,'' Keuchel said. ''Made the pitches I wanted to and felt good about it, but just the results aren't there. One or two pitches here and there through the first 11 outings is the difference in 3-7 and 7-3. So I am going to keep churning.''
Severino retired his first 11 batters, striking out seven of the first nine, before AL MVP Jose Altuve bounced a single through a wide-open right side.
''We were cruising there for a little while,'' Romine said.
New York (35-17), which has won 17 of its last 21 at home, matched a season high at 18 games above .500. The Yankees have won 10 of their past 11 completed series.