Yankees players celebrate with Isiah Kiner-Falefa after his walk-off single...

Yankees players celebrate with Isiah Kiner-Falefa after his walk-off single against the San Diego Padres during the tenth inning of an MLB baseball game at Yankee Stadium on Saturday, May 27, 2023.  Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Luis Severino honored the pregame comment made by Aaron Boone, who called the righthander a “difference-maker” in the Yankees' rotation.

Severino, who started the season on the injured list and didn't make his debut until the Yankees' 49th game, turned in his second straight strong start Saturday, mostly handcuffing the Padres for 6 2/3 innings.

A difference-maker for sure, but on a sun-splashed afternoon at the Stadium, not the only one.

The recently scuffling DJ LeMahieu contributed an RBI double and a tying home run, and in the bottom of the 10th, Isiah Kiner-Falefa grounded a single over third base and down the leftfield line to give the Yankees a walk-off 3-2 victory that snapped a three-game losing streak.

“It was loud,” Kiner-Falefa said of the reaction by the sellout crowd of 46,963 to his first walk-off hit as a Yankee. “I felt like a little kid out there running around.”

The Yankees (31-23) outhit the Padres 8-3, but thanks to an unearned run charged to Severino after a two-out error by Gleyber Torres in the seventh, they.trailed 2-1 before LeMahieu homered to right-center in the bottom of the inning.

After Clay Holmes stranded the extra-inning bonus runner at second in the top of the 10th — aided by LeMahieu's terrific barehanded scoop and throw on a trickler by Fernando Tatis Jr. — LeMahieu was intentionally walked to put runners on first and second in the bottom of the inning.

When Harrison Bader bunted, third baseman Rougned Odor got LeMahieu at second, but Bader beat the return throw to first. With pinch runner Greg Allen at third, Bader reached second on defensive indifference, and  after getting ahead 2-and-0, Kiner-Falefa pulled a changeup  past the diving Odor to win it.

“It was one of those at-bats,” LeMahieu said, “you knew he  was going to get a hit.”

Said Kiner-Falefa, “I was just trying to see if he was going to come after me. He threw two balls out of the zone and I was just looking for something. I thought he was going to throw something elevated and I was going to be able to hit a pop fly to leftfield, but was a little bit out front and was able to hook it down the line.”

As he did in his season debut last Sunday in Cincinnati, when he allowed one run and four hits in 4 2/3 innings, Severino came out throwing heat. He retired the Padres (24-28) in order in a nine-pitch first, striking out Tatis swinging at a 99-mph fastball for the second out and striking out Juan Soto looking at a slider. Each had hit a long two-run homer Friday night.

Severino allowed two runs (one earned), one hit and three walks in his 82-pitch outing, striking out five.  “He threw great in Cincinnati and I think he threw better today,” LeMahieu said. “He looked like Sevy.”

 Padres starter Michael Wacha allowed  two runs, five hits and no walks in seven innings.

Aaron Judge singled with one out in the first, went to third on Anthony Rizzo's double and scored on LeMahieu's double to left, although Rizzo was thrown out at the plate by a wide margin when he attempted to score from first on the hit.

Severino’s streak of batters retired to start the game ended at 10 when, with one out in the fourth, Tatis torpedoed a 0-and-1 slider to left-center. His ninth homer, a 426-foot shot, tied it at 1.

Severino retired the first two Padres in the seventh but walked Nelson Cruz, and Torres' error knocked Severino out of the game. Ha-Seong Kim's single off Michael King gave San Diego a 2-1 lead.

But LeMahieu, in a 4-for-30 slide entering the day, homered to right-center in the bottom of the inning,  improving to 9-for-21 with four doubles and a homer against Wacha.

“Today he didn’t miss a good pitch when he got it,” Aaron Boone said of LeMahieu, who brought a .250 batting average and .716 OPS into the day. “I think he matches up well with Wacha, too, but he had some quality ones [at-bats] today.”

A difference-maker on an afternoon when the Yankees required several of them.

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