It took nine games to arrive there but the New York Yankees got over the .500 hump tonight.
Aaron Hicks went deep twice to deliver all the offense, Luis Severino was superb on the bump and the highly touted tandem of Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman closed the door on the Tampa Rays as the Yanks held on, 3-2 to sweep the three-game set and improve to 5-4 on the season.
What a fun week (so far) to be a New York Yankees fan. Four days ago the Bombers sat at 1-5 and we were verging on looking ahead to 2018 before the ’17 season reached Easter.
Hicks got the start in left field because Brett Gardner was out with a sore jaw and neck following a violent baserunning collision yesterday. Boy did he take advantage. Hicks drilled a solo shot in the first and a two-run bomb off reliever Xavier Zedeno in the seventh to give New York the lead.
It was Hicks’ first mult-homer game since smashing two with Minnesota in early May 2013.
Meanwhile, Severino gave everything Joe Girardi could ask for and more. Making his second start of the season Sevy went 7 full innings—allowing just 2 runs on five hits with 1 walk and striking out 11 batters.
How impressive was he? Check out this stat via Katie Sharp.
Luis Severino (23 yrs, 52 days): youngest Yankee righthander in last 100 years with at least 11 K in a game.
— Katie Sharp (@ktsharp) April 14, 2017
The win wasn’t without drama. Relieving Severino to begin the eighth, Betances gave up a leadoff walk and a bloop single as Tampa put runners on the corners with no one out. However, Betances struck out Kevin Kiermaier and Yankee-killer Evan Longoria before forcing Brad Miller to hit a tapper back to him to retire the side and maintain the one run lead.
Chapman worked around one hit in the ninth to pick up his second save in as many days.
Typically I hit on thoughts and reactions via a series of bullet points, but I’m going to skip that tonight. For one I’m tired, plus you probably won’t read this anyway.
The Yanks are back tomorrow hosting the start of an interleague series with the St. Louis Cardinals. We’ll see you then.