Aaron Judge had two hard-hit doubles that drove in two runs on Wednesday night and the packed house at Yankee Stadium roared.
The Yankees slugger still sits one home run shy of Roger Mars’ record of 61, but he didn’t mind. The Bombers got two homers in one inning from Gleyber Torres, a grand slam from Oswaldo Cabrera and, perhaps most importantly, a very encouraging return from Luis Severino as the Yankees beat the Pirates 14-2 in the Bronx.
“I think on the second double I didn’t know if it was a foul or what, I didn’t hear any cheers,” said Judge, who pulled over when he heard groans after scoring first on a ground-rule double. “I didn’t know what was going on. I didn’t know if it was a foul ball or not.
“The fans packed the house to see us win the ball game and hit some homers so I guess I’ll have to cut those doubles.”
Judge went 2-for-4 with a walk and a strikeout on Wednesday, but that was all the Yankees (90-58) needed to knock down the magic number to win their third straight game and clinch a playoff spot. The Bombers have won seven of their last nine and 11 of 15.
Torres opened an eight-run eighth inning with his 22nd homer of the season and then hit his 23rd in the same frame. Cabrera hit his first career grand slam in the first inning, just his third career home run, to set the tone and impress Judge.
“What an opponent, every single day in and out, no matter the score, no matter the situation, he’s out there giving us the best batting,” Judge said of the versatile rookie, making his second career start. What about left field? . “He’s giving us an opportunity you know, when he’s playing right field, left field, shortstop, first base a little bit. I think just having that versatility with him is key to our success. It’s a big time.
The Yankees have hit a major league-leading and team-record 10 hits. Grand Slam this seasonIncluding four against lowly Pirates pitchers.
Perhaps the biggest development on Wednesday was that the Yankees got some reassurance about their pitching with Severino’s first start since July 13. The righty looked really sharp, holding the Pirates to one run on two hits over five innings. He scored six runs with one walk.
“It’s big time, especially with Frankie [Montas] Going down, he was a big part of our rotation,” Judge said of Severino’s return. But coming back is another big part of our rotation. What I like, what I saw tonight is putting 97-98 up there. [miles an hour of velocity] Working on his off-speed pitches and att*cking. He’s a bulldog on the mound and you know he’s definitely going to be a big piece down the stretch.
The team found out that Severino returned just one day after Montas Hoga Stop for at least 10 days. And not knowing his status for the rest of the season. The Bombers acquired Montas specifically for his success against the Rays and Astros and with the idea that he would be their No. 2 starter behind Garrett Cole in the playoff series.
Montas has struggled since the Yankees acquired him from Oakland, and now that he’s sidelined with the same shoulder inflammation that sidelined him for more than two weeks with the A’s, thinking Appropriate if he was ever healthy. He certainly hasn’t proven himself as a No. 2 starter with a 6.35 ERA in eight starts with the Bombers.
But Severino has certainly shown that he can be a consistent weapon down low.
Severino has had a tough three years since becoming an All-Star in 2018, but he’s come back strong from Tommy John surgery in 2020, with good stuff and the same bulldog mentality he had. July was speaking his mind against the team..
Severino missed the entire 2020 season due to elbow surgery. After appearing in just seven games in 2019 and 2021 combined due to his surgery and a late strain, Severino pitched to a 3.45 ERA in his first 16 starts this season. He struck out 95 batters in 86.1 innings.
“I was happy my velocity was there and I think the best two pitches I threw tonight were the two base hits,” Severino said. “So I was really happy with my night.”
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