ATLANTA - After watching Luis Severino shut down the Indians over six innings on Aug. 22, Brett Gardner smiled in discussing the 21-year-old, who had just earned his first big-league win. "First of many, I think," Gardner said.
Victory No. 2 came his next time out. The rookie righthander shut out the Braves over six brilliant innings Saturday night in the Yankees' 3-1 win in front of a sellout crowd of 49,243 at Turner Field.
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"He was lights out. He did whatever he wanted to do tonight," Brian McCann said.
Severino (2-2, 2.17) allowed four hits, walked three and struck out five. "Everything was working for me today," he said. "My changeup, my slider and fastball."
He continued to get little offensive support, though. During the 29 innings he has pitched in five starts, the Yankees have scored only eight runs -- five in his first victory and three in 23 innings in the other four games.
The victory allowed the Yankees (71-57) to remain 1½ games behind the still-scorching Blue Jays in the AL East.
The Yankees, who scored nine runs in the first two innings in Friday night's 15-4 victory, grinded through the night offensively this time.
They took a 1-0 lead into the seventh before Didi Gregorius -- who had four hits and a career-best six RBIs Friday night -- doubled home Chase Headley, who also had doubled, to make it 2-0.
"Just trying to see the ball, hit the ball," said Gregorius, now 7-for-his-last-13 with nine RBIs in his last three games.
Justin Wilson allowed a run in the seventh, but Dellin Betances -- after walking a batter to put runners on first and second -- made a nifty behind-the-back stop of Freddie Freeman's comebacker to end the inning.
After McCann's RBI double in the eighth made it 3-1, the Braves put runners on first and third with two outs in the bottom of the inning, but Betances struck out Andrelton Simmons looking. Andrew Miller struck out two in a perfect ninth for his 28th save.
As they did Friday night, the Yankees scored early, though not as often.
Leadoff man Jacoby Ellsbury flared the third pitch he saw from Matt Wisler (5-5) -- who allowed two runs, four hits and four walks in six innings -- for a double to left. Gardner's grounder to second moved Ellsbury to third and Carlos Beltran struck out, but McCann and Greg Bird walked to load the bases. Wisler then planted his 0-and-2 pitch to Headley in the dirt, and the wild pitch made it 1-0.
Nick Markakis led off the Braves' first with a single and Freeman worked a one-out walk, but Nick Swisher grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end the 15-pitch inning.
"It doesn't seem to overwhelm him, the situation here, and that's really important to us," Joe Girardi said.
The Braves did not get another runner in scoring position until the fourth, when Adonis Garcia missed tying the score by only a few feet, driving a two-out double off the wall in center for the Braves' second hit. Severino walked Jace Peterson but struck out Christian Bethancourt with a 96-mph fastball.
Severino experienced no such trouble in the fifth, needing only 12 pitches to set down the Braves in order, two on strikeouts. He got Simmons swinging at a 97-mph fastball to start the inning and Markakis looking at a 97-mph fastball to end it.
"I feel good about when he takes the mound," Girardi said. "I've liked what he's done from Day 1. He's handled it extremely well. He continues to impress us."