Yankees starter is MLB’s first 12-game winner
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Luis Severino is making a strong case to start the All-Star Game for the American League.
Severino became the majors’ first 12-game winner, Aaron Hicks and Didi Gregorius homered and the New York Yankees beat the Philadelphia Phillies 6-0 Tuesday night.
Severino (12-2) struck out nine in seven dominant innings, lowering his ERA to 2.10. The ace has allowed three runs or less in 16 of 17 starts.
“It would mean a lot,” Severino said about taking the mound in the Midsummer Classic on July 17. “But I’m thinking about five more days and what hitters I’ll be facing.”
Jake Arrieta (5-6) had another rough outing for Philadelphia, which had won four consecutive series before losing two straight to the Yankees. Arrieta gave up six runs — three earned — and nine hits in five innings.
Another sellout crowd in Philly made it sound like a home game for the Bronx Bombers, cheering loudly for the team with the best record in the majors. Meanwhile, Phillies fans tried to drown them out by chanting “E-A-G-L-E-S.”
Hicks hit Arrieta’s third pitch of the game out to straightaway center for his 11th homer. Arrieta was 0-4 with a 6.66 ERA in five starts in June after posting a 0.90 ERA in five starts last month.
An error by second baseman Cesar Hernandez led to three unearned runs in the third. Arrieta has allowed 14 unearned runs this season and has expressed frustration with the team’s defense. The 2015 NL Cy Young Award winner is earning $30 million this season as part of a $75 million, three-year contract he signed as a free agent in March.
With two runners on, Gregorius hit a grounder to Hernandez that should have been an inning-ending double play. But Hernandez flipped wide to shortstop Scott Kingery and all three runners were safe. Arrieta struck out Giancarlo Stanton for the second out. But Gleyber Torres hit a two-run single past third baseman Maikel Franco’s diving attempt. Greg Bird followed with a bloop single to left to make it 4-0.
“It’s always difficult when you get a grounder and we don’t make the play,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. “We win and lose as a team.”
Austin Romine led off the fourth with a double, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on Hicks’ sacrifice fly. Gregorius drove his 15th homer out to right-center in the fifth.
Severino has come a long way in less than two seasons. He was 0-8 with an 8.50 ERA in 11 starts in 2016. But the 24-year-old righty finished third in AL Cy Young voting last year and went to the All-Star Game. Now he’s one of the elite pitchers in baseball.
“Every time I get the ball, I want to win,” he said.
Severino’s fastball was consistently in the upper 90s against the overmatched Phillies.
“The life on his fastball seemed really special,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.
Adam Warren and Chasen Shreve each tossed one inning to finish off the six-hitter for the Yankees (52-25).
Severino has allowed three earned runs or fewer in 14 consecutive starts, the longest such streak by a Yankees starter since 2014, when Masahiro Tanaka did it in 16 straight. His 12 wins are the most by a Yankees pitcher before the All-Star break since Tanaka had 12 in 2014.
Kingery has a career-best seven-game hitting streak.
Hicks made a superb catch to rob Rhys Hoskins of extra bases in the eighth, leaping a few feet in front of the wall to grab a deep drive to left-center.
Yankees: Tanaka, on the 10-day disabled list since June 9 with strained left and right hamstrings, threw his second bullpen session. Boone isn’t sure what the next step will be in Tanaka’s rehab.
Phillies: RHP Pat Neshek allowed one run and two hits in one inning in a rehab appearance at Double-A Reading. Neshek, an All-Star last year, hasn’t pitched this season because of shoulder strain.
RHP Luis Cessa (0-0, 3.00 ERA) will make his first start for the Yankees since last August 14 on Wednesday night. RHP Zach Eflin (5-2, 3.42 ERA) takes the mound for Philadelphia in the series finale.
By Rob Maaddi of the Associated Press.