Luis Severino finally found out what it's like to get some run support. The 21-year-old's first victory in the majors came easily thereafter Saturday.
Overcoming an early homer, Severino settled in and led the Yankees to a 6-2 win over the Indians in front of 47,031 at the Stadium on Jorge Posada Day.
"First of many, I think," Brett Gardner said of the rookie pitcher's first big-league win.
Inserted into a division race three weeks ago, Severino has not been overwhelmed, either by the circumstance or opposition. He entered Saturday with a 3.12 ERA in three starts but an 0-2 record largely because he had received two runs of support in a combined 17 innings.
"For the first time, I feel like I belong here," Severino said through a translator. "Because I'm working hard and with the job I'm doing, I feel like I can pitch at this level."
He already had, and fairly well, of course.
Spotted a 5-1 lead after two innings -- Gardner's two-run shot and Brian McCann's solo blast highlighted a three-run first -- Severino ended up allowing one run, three hits and four walks in six innings. Though his slider wasn't as sharp as in his previous three outings, Severino overcame that with a late-moving fastball, which routinely hit 97 mph, and a solid changeup. He struck out six, giving him 24 in 23 innings.
"He has a great presence on the mound, he doesn't look scared," Carlos Beltran said. "Since I met him in spring training, I saw something different in him and that is his presence. He walks around the clubhouse but he doesn't walk around with his head down like he's afraid. He's up for the challenge. In spring training, I said this guy's going to be good because sometimes you have to be like that."
Andrew Miller, who pitched a scoreless ninth in a non-save situation, used another "p" word.
"The preparation before he got here, even though he's 21, he certainly seems prepared and ready for it," Miller said. "As a young player, all you've ever heard is how hard it is to play at this level, and you get up here and you have a choice of whether you believe it or whether you think you're prepared and he's certainly acting like he's ready . . . It's hard to judge a guy right away if it doesn't go well, but it's certainly a good sign when it does go well."
The run support was a bit of a surprise. The Yankees (68-54) had dropped four of five this season to the Indians (57-65), who were throwing Danny Salazar. He entered with an 11-6 record and a 3.16 ERA.
But after Francisco Lindor took Severino deep in the first, the Yanks answered, forcing Salazar, who lasted just 4 2/3 innings, to throw 33 pitches. Jacoby Ellsbury led off with a single, setting up Gardner, who hit his 12th homer. Two batters later, McCann, getting the day at DH, blasted one to right for his 22nd homer and a 3-1 lead.
The Indians threatened in the third but did not score from a first-and-third, one-out situation, helped by a "neighborhood" out call at second that resulted in the ejection of Terry Francona. Severino struck out Carlos Santana swinging to end the inning, punctuating the out with an emphatic fist pump.
"You could see it the first time he took the mound [in spring training] that he had composure and he was not fazed," Joe Girardi said. "Everything we've seen from him, we like. And I think he's going to get better. I think he'll be around a long time."