Steven Wright's knuckleball danced away from the Yankees' bats for eight mystifying innings and David Ortiz launched a moonshot home run off rookie Luis Severino, leading the Red Sox to a 2-1 victory on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium.
Wright picked up his fifth victory of the season as he struck out a career-high nine batters and outdueled Severino, who is rated the Yankees' top prospect by MLB.com. Wright's only major blemish came on Carlos Beltran's seventh-inning homer as he limited the Yanks to a run on four hits, holding them hitless into the fifth.
The youngest pitcher to make a Major League start this season, Severino was sharp in his Major League debut, permitting a pair of runs (one earned) over five innings while striking out seven. Alejandro De Aza knocked in the first run with a second-inning double and Ortiz, who was playing in rookie ball the year that Severino was born, reached the bleachers with a long home run leading off the fourth inning.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The Wright stuff: Wright brought back memories of a vintage Tim Wakefield by turning in the best start of his career. The eight innings and nine strikeouts were both career highs. After the Yankees opened the eighth with a single, Jacoby Ellsbury hit a shot back toward the middle that went off of Wright's leg, and it caromed to shortstop Xander Bogaerts for what wound up as a 1-6-3 double play.
The future is now: The hyped debut of Severino served as a tantalizing advertisement of what could be ahead. At 21 years old and 166 days, Severino dialed up his fastball as high as 97 mph while mixing in his changeup and slider, wrapping his outing after 94 pitches (59 strikes). General manager Brian Cashman has committed to keeping Severino in the rotation for the foreseeable future.
Papi launches one off rookie: Ortiz might be 39 years old, but he can still get the bat around, even against an electric prospect like Severino. In the top of the fourth, Ortiz turned on a 96-mph fastball from Severino and hammered it deep into the seats in right. The homer was projected by Statcast™ to land 435 feet with an exit velocity of 109 mph and a launch angle of 28 degrees.
Warren gets out of it: The Yankees utilized Severino and Adam Warren as a tandem of sorts, with Warren taking over in the sixth, and the right-hander kept the game close by pitching out of a seventh-inning jam. Warren gave up a one-out double to Pablo Sandoval and hit Mike Napoli with a pitch, but the righty struck out De Aza and got Blake Swihart to fly out to right field, stranding two men.
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