NEW YORK (AP)After their biggest bats did plenty of damage, the New York Yankees auditioned a new bullpen weapon for the stretch drive: Luis Severino.
Giancarlo Stanton lined a laser beam of a home run, Aaron Judge added a three-run shot and the Yankees powered past the Texas Rangers 7-1 on Tuesday night to keep pace in the crowded AL wild-card chase.
Joey Gallo also went deep – against his former team – and a finally healthy Severino closed with two shutout innings in his first major league appearance since the 2019 AL Championship Series.
”That was special for me,” Severino said. ”It was really frustrating for a little bit.”
New York, which remained a half-game behind Toronto for the final American League playoff spot, has taken two straight from last-place Texas following a 7-15 slide.
Anthony Rizzo had an RBI single and scored both times after he was hit by a pitch. Jordan Montgomery (6-6) struck out six in 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball, giving up one or none for the eighth time in his last 10 starts.
”Starting to get really comfortable being out there,” Montgomery said.
Stanton drove in a run with a broken-bat groundout in the first and then ripped a solo homer inside the left field foul pole off starter Dane Dunning (5-9) in the third.
The ball left Stanton’s bat at 118.5 mph, the third-hardest-hit home run in the majors this season.
”Big G, he hits it about the hardest I’ve ever seen in the game,” Judge said. ”I’ll just take my little lob shots over the right-field wall.”
Gallo, traded by Texas to the Yankees in July, lofted a high drive into the second deck in right to make it 4-1 in the sixth. Judge, who doubled earlier, sent an opposite-field drive to right-center against Kolby Allard in the mist for his 36th homer in the seventh.
”Just shows what this team can do,” Judge said.
Yankees reliever Michael King retired cleanup batter Adolis Garcia with a runner on second to keep it 3-1 in the sixth and then struck out all three batters in the seventh looking.
”I’m excited what we’re seeing,” manager Aaron Boone said. ”Tonight was pretty special, what he had going.”
Severino, reinstated from the injured list Monday, entered to a warm hand in the eighth from fans who also chanted his name. He gave up two hits and struck out two, flashing a mid-90s mph fastball and a sharp slider in his first big league relief appearance since September 2016.
”Proud moment for him, for his teammates and for all of us,” Boone said. ”Worked his tail off to get to this moment.”
A two-time All-Star starter, the 27-year-old right-hander had Tommy John surgery on Feb. 27, 2020, and his rehab progression in the minors this season was slowed by a groin injury and shoulder tightness.
In the clubhouse after the game, Severino was given the team’s championship belt for the night.
”Really exciting,” Boone said. ”I think he felt great just to be a part of it … I think there was some emotion in his voice.”
Severino became the 59th player used by the Yankees this season, setting a franchise record.
”He’s a big part of this organization, a big part of this team,” Judge said. ”We’re gonna need him down the stretch, I know that.”
Andy Ibanez had three hits for the Rangers (55-96), who are 5 for 59 (.085) with runners in scoring position over the past nine games.
”I don’t think anyone wants to be associated with a 100-loss team. We’re going to fight until the end,” manager Chris Woodward said.
Wearing a Yankees cap and pinstriped jersey, late-night talk show host Jimmy Fallon threw out the ceremonial first pitch – accompanied at the mound by Hall of Fame closer Mariano Rivera. The two then embraced and autographed a baseball that Fallon tossed into the stands.
Rangers: RHP Matt Bush, out since early April with elbow inflammation, threw 15 pitches Monday night in his first rehab outing for Triple-A Round Rock. He is scheduled to pitch again Thursday.
Yankees: Setup man Jonathan Loaisiga (right shoulder strain) played catch from 120 feet and could throw a bullpen Friday. The team hopes to get him back by the end of the season. … Judge received a bit of a breather as the DH, with Stanton starting in right field.
It was Stanton’s 10th home run with an exit velocity of at least 118 mph tracked by Statcast since 2015, including postseason play. All other major league hitters have combined for 10 such homers in that span.
”It is a cool thing to see what the numbers are after the fact,” Stanton said.
Rangers right-hander Kohei Arihara was assigned outright to Triple-A Round Rock and is expected to start for the Express this weekend against Tacoma.
In the series finale Wednesday night, Yankees RHP Corey Kluber (5-3, 3.68 ERA) faces the rookie-laden Rangers for the first time since pitching a no-hitter against them May 19 in Texas. The only baserunner he allowed in that game came on a four-pitch walk to Charlie Culberson in the third inning.
This will be Kluber’s second consecutive outing against a former team, after going six innings last Friday in an 8-0 win over Cleveland, with whom he won a pair of Cy Young Awards. Kluber pitched one inning last year in his lone season with Texas and tore a muscle in his shoulder.
LHP Taylor Hearn (6-5, 4.52) makes his Yankee Stadium debut in his 10th start and 41st appearance for the Rangers this season.
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports