Singles are for losers …
… at least when you’re the Bronx Bombers and can hit baseballs really high and far. The Yankees turned four hits into five runs thanks to three home runs from the middle of the order, which was just enough offense to beat the Rays on Friday night.
Overall they had six baserunners the entire night, making this the first time the Yankees scored at least five runs in a game with six or fewer baserunners since a 5-4 win over the Royals on April 26, 1988.
Sure, the home runs by A-Rod, Brian McCann and Greg Bird were nice and all, but the real star of the game was Luis Severino, who pitched another gem in his sixth major-league start. With 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball he lowered his ERA to 2.04, the third-lowest by any Yankee pitcher through his first six career games (all starts) since at least 1914. The only guys better than Severino in that span are Bob Porterfield (1.94 in 1948) and Bill Piercy (1.70 in 1917).
Severino has pitched at least six innings and surrendered no more than one run in each of his last three starts, putting up a 0.98 ERA in that span. He’s the first Yankee aged 21 or younger to have three straight games of six-plus innings and one or fewer run allowed since Hall of Famer Waite Hoyt in 1921.
Andrew Miller closed out the game with his 30th save of the season, becoming the fourth different Yankee in the last four seasons to reach 30 saves (David Robertson in 2014, Mariano in 2013, Rafael Soriano in 2012). In the previous 15 years (1997-2011), the Yankees had 14 30-save seasons — all by one guy, Mr. Rivera.
Unlucky No. 13
Not even the Yankees’ official good-luck charm — Nathan Eovaldi — could help the Yankees avoid loss to the Rays on Saturday afternoon in the Bronx. The bats failed in key scoring opportunities — they went 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position — but it wasn’t because they didn’t smack the ball around hard enough.
According Statcast, the line drive Didi Gregorius hit for the final out of the eighth inning with the bases loaded left his bat at 107 mph. It was the third time this season Gregorius hit a ball that hard … the previous two went for a double and a homer.
Eovaldi got tagged with his first loss since June 16 and his streak of unbeaten starts ended at 13. It was the second-longest streak of starts without a loss by a Yankee in the last 10 seasons, behind only Ivan Nova’s 20-start unbeaten run spanning the 2011-12 seasons.
The Yankees were held to six hits or fewer for the sixth straight home game, matching their longest such streak ever at Yankee Stadium (old or new). The last time it happened was July 26-30, 1988.
Another ace goes down
In the span of two pitches, the Yankees went from facing a seemingly insurmountable 3-0 deficit against the Rays and their ace Chris Archer to enjoying a 4-3 advantage. It was a lead they wouldn’t relinquish en route to a crucial 6-4 win on Sunday afternoon.
Brian McCann tied the game in the sixth inning with his career-high 25th homer of the season, a towering two-out shot into the right field seats off Archer. He’s just the second left-handed catcher in the last two decades with at least 25 homers and 80 RBI in a season. The other was Joe Mauer during his 2009 MVP campaign.
A-Rod then immediately gave the Yankees the lead, sending the very next pitch over the fence in right-center. It was his team-leading fourth go-ahead homer in the sixth inning or later this year, and the most such homers he’s hit in any season since 2010.
The Yankees ended up tagging Archer for five runs, the most they’ve ever scored off him in his nine career starts facing them. Archer entered the game 5-0 with a 1.78 ERA versus the Yankees, the lowest ERA and best record by any active pitcher with more than five starts against the team.