As he’s already done a handful of times this season, Luis Severino demonstrated that he can pitch with the best of him when he’s on.  He certainly was on Wednesday night, tossing eight scoreless innings as the Yankees shut out the Kansas City Royals, 3-0.

Severino allowed just four hits and a walk to go with seven strikeouts while throwing a career-high 114 pitches. His previous high was 113 against Boston in May of 2016.

Dellin Betances came on to relieve Severino in the ninth and struck out the side to earn his third save of the season while Aroldis Chapman is on the shelf.

Didi Gregorious gave the Bombers all the offense they’d need, smacking his third dinger of the season off Jason Hammel in the third inning.

New York added runs on a sacrifice fly by Matt Holiday to score Gary Sanchez in the sixth and a Brett Gardner single to plate Gregorius in the seventh.

A few thoughts and notes from tonight….

♦ With two clunkers over his last four starts there was cause for concern with Severino.  He lasted just 2.1 innings against Houston two starts ago (May 14) and was hammered for five runs over five innings two starts prior against Toronto.  He was brilliant tonight in his best start of the season, throwing 100mph strikes in the eighth inning.  It’s been said before and is worth reiterating ad nauseam— Severino remaining a solid starter is critical to the Yanks staying in a playoff race late into the season.

♦ Tough break for Yankee centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, who made a fantastic running catch to rob Alcides Escobar on the first play of the game. Unfortunately he crashed against the outfield wall while doing so and while he temporarily stayed in the game, he left after the first inning and was diagnosed with a concussion and sprained neck. At a minimum he’s likely to go on the seven-day concussion DL.  Fantasy players may want to pluck Aaron Hicks off the waiver wire, as for the time being he’s likely to play every day in Ellsbury’s absence.

♦ Gary Sanchez manufactured a run in the sixth inning. He led off the sixth with a single, stole second and advanced to third on Salvador Perez’s throwing error before scoring on a sac fly by Matt Holiday. It’s not typically what we see from Sanchez but the Bombers will certainly take it.

♦ It’s easier to deal with of course because the Yanks are winning, but Joe Giraldi’s patience has to be wearing thin with Chase Headley.  The third basemen was on fire in April but has been awful lately.  An 0-for-3 night at the plate has him with just two hits in his last 24 at bats and his average has dropped all the way to .232.

♦ Betances’ three strikeouts gives him 29 on the season in just 15.2 innings. He lowered his ERA to 0.57 and WHIP to 1.09.  That’s fun.

♦ The four game series between the teams concludes tomorrow afternoon at 1:05pm with Mashiro Tanaka trying to get himself right on the mound. He’ll take on Miguel Almonte, making the first start of his career for the Royals.