HOUSTON — For the first time in four postseason starts against the Astros, Luis Severino made it through the fifth inning Thursday night.
But the Yankees right-hander is still looking for his first win against them.
Severino turned in a solid outing but got hurt by a two-out, two-strike fastball that Alex Bregman drilled for a three-run home run, which proved to be all the damage the Astros needed in a 3-2 win over the Yankees in Game 2 of the ALCS at Minute Maid Park.
“I threw a good pitch,” Severino said. “He hit it at [91.8 mph off the bat]. So that’s the only thing I got to say. And [Aaron] Judge hit it at [106.3 mph on a fly ball to right field] and it didn’t go out. So I don’t know. They got lucky.”
Those were the only three runs Severino gave up over 5 ¹/₃ innings, but in a duel with Astros lefty Framber Valdez, it was enough to put the Yankees in an 0-2 hole in the series heading back to The Bronx.
Bregman’s blow came in the third inning, which Severino led off by hitting No. 9 hitter Martin Maldonado on the hands with an 0-2 fastball. Severino then struck out Jose Altuve but gave up a single to Jeremy Pena before Yordan Alvarez beat out a double play to keep the inning alive with runners on the corners.
Severino got ahead of Bregman 1-2 but then threw a 97 mph inside fastball, which the Astros third baseman turned on and deposited into the Crawford Boxes in left field for the 3-0 lead.
“I know the wind was blowing,” Severino said. “That was the only reason that ball got out.”
The homer only had an expected batting average of .040, per Statcast, but it traveled an estimated 360 feet and counted just the same.
“It wasn’t a terrible pitch at all,” catcher Kyle Higashioka said. “I guess in a perfect world, it could be higher. But I think even [Bregman] will admit, he didn’t hit it well off the bat. But he hit it well enough to get out. That’s just how it goes sometimes. … I didn’t think it was that bad a pitch, so I was surprised he got to it and got enough on it to get it out.”
Otherwise, Severino was mostly sharp. He stranded a pair of runners in the second inning and then in the fifth, gave up a leadoff single to Maldonado before retiring the Astros’ top three hitters in a row — including striking out Alvarez on a high 99 mph fastball to end the frame.
Entering Thursday, Severino had made three playoff starts against the Astros (two in the 2017 ALCS and one in the 2019 ALCS), giving up six earned runs across 13 innings in three Yankees losses.
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