It was Bad Sevy combined with a very good Marcus Estrada, a losing recipe for the Yankees last night.
Luis Severino could not make it four good starts in a row, reverting to the form that frustrated his team much of last season, and took the loss as the Yankees fell to the Blue Jays, 7-1, in front of 25,566 at the Stadium.
Severino, who lasted at least seven innings in his previous three starts — going 2-1 with a 2.05 ERA — did not make it out of the sixth this time, allowing five runs and eight hits (including two homers) in 5 2⁄3 innings. After striking out 27 and walking three in 22 innings in the previous three starts, he struck out three and walked two.
Said Joe Girardi, “If you’re not ahead in the count, you’re not locating, you can get hurt pretty badly in this league, and that’s what it was. To me, I didn’t think he didn’t have anything. I just think he was a little off and behind in some counts.”
Severino kept it a 2-1 game until the sixth, when he allowed three runs, two on a sacrifice fly by Ryan Goins when Jacoby Ellsbury plowed into the centerfield wall after making the catch. It was the first two-run sacrifice fly in the major leagues since Sept. 16, 2014, and that one also involved Ellsbury. He robbed Wil Myers of an extra-base hit with a brilliant diving catch in right-center, but two Rays were able to tag up and score on the play.
Estrada, 2-0 with a 3.12 ERA in four starts against the Yankees last year, allowed one run and seven hits in seven innings. He struck out five and walked none.
“He was able to command his fastball wherever he wanted to and just working off that with the changeup, it’s a pretty good combo that he’s got going,’’ Aaron Judge said. “He was able to hit his spots. He really didn’t make too many mistakes. Sometimes you just have to tip your cap.”
Luis Cessa, called up earlier in the day, allowed a two-run homer by Jose Bautista in the seventh that gave the Blue Jays (9-17) a 7-1 lead.
Severino battled through a 19-pitch first inning in which he stranded two.
Devon Travis led off the second with a single and Severino fell behind 3-and-1 before throwing a belt-high 96-mph fastball that Goins drove into the seats in right-center for his second homer of the season and a 2-0 lead.
The Yankees scored their lone run in the fourth. Starlin Castro picked up his 20th hit in his last 50 at-bats with a single to center, winning a 10-pitch battle, and Ellsbury slashed a single to center. Judge then lined a single to right to make it 2-1. Greg Bird, however, hit into a 6-3 double play, dropping him to a 6-for-58 start to the season.
“I know what I’m capable of,’’ Bird said. “I think these guys do too. It’s frustrating, but you have to deal with it. I have to be better and I know that.”
Severino impressively worked out of trouble in the fifth, getting out of a second-and-third, one-out jam by striking out Bautista and getting Kendrys Morales on a liner to left.
But in the sixth, Justin Smoak singled, Travis lined a 99-mph fastball over Judge’s head in right for a double and Goins scorched one to center. Ellsbury, running at full speed, made the catch but hit the wall hard with his left elbow. Smoak scored on the sacrifice fly, and when Ellsbury, from the ground, flipped the ball over the leaping Judge’s head, Travis also scored to make it 4-1. Coghlan’s two-out homer on a first-pitch slider made it 5-1 and ended Severino’s night.
Said Ellsbury, “My elbow’s sore. We’ll see how it feels tomorrow. Hopefully it’s good.”