NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Luis Severino impressed players on both sides during his much-anticipated major league debut. He just didn’t get much support from those in his own dugout.
Steven Wright handcuffed a torrid New York Yankees lineup with his steady supply of floating knuckleballs, and David Ortiz hit a colossal home run for the rival Boston Red Sox in their 2-1 victory on Wednesday night.
A costly throwing error by third baseman Chase Headley helped spoil Severino’s first start with the Yankees. The prized pitching prospect yielded only two hits over five encouraging innings. He struck out seven and walked none.
“He’s got poise. I told you I didn’t think his surroundings would affect him a whole lot. We saw that in spring training,” manager Joe Girardi said. “I definitely think it’s a positive for him and what he could mean for us moving forward.”
The Yankees said the 21-year-old Severino, the youngest pitcher to make a big league start this season, became the first hurler in American League history to give up no more than two hits with seven strikeouts and no walks in his debut.
“That young kid, he’s got good stuff, man. I think he’s going to be pretty good,” Ortiz said. “I think at the end of the game he was missing location a little bit, but other than that, his stuff is very explosive.”
Severino (0-1) threw 94 pitches, flashing a 97 mph fastball and sharp slider. The right-hander began the season in Double-A, then went 7-0 with a 1.91 ERA in 11 starts at Triple-A — where he did not give up a homer in 61 1/3 innings.
“He’s a guy that we expect to be here for a long time, so it was fun to watch him pitch,” teammate Mark Teixeira said.
Koji Uehara retired pinch-hitter Brian McCann on a fly to center with two on for his 24th save.
Alejandro De Aza hit an RBI double with two outs in the second — immediately following Headley’s 18th error. Ortiz connected on a 96 mph 2-0 fastball from Severino leading off the fourth, a drive that landed more than halfway up the elevated concrete bleachers in right field.
“I gave them an extra out and they took advantage of it. But he really came out and threw the ball great, so I think he’s going to be a great addition for us,” Headley said.
The last-place Red Sox snapped an eight-game road losing streak behind Wright (5-4). He struck out nine in eight innings, setting career highs in both categories for the second consecutive start.
Tossing his 74-75 mph knuckler to both sides of the plate, the 30-year-old righty allowed just four hits — including Carlos Beltran’s leadoff homer in the seventh.
“It’s frustrating when you face a knuckleballer because you really don’t know what adjustments to make,” Headley said. “You’re kind of at mercy of what the ball’s doing, and he had a good one tonight.”
It wasn’t the first time the Yankees had trouble with Wright, who entered with a 1.80 ERA in 10 innings against them. He worked five innings of relief in a 19-inning victory at Yankee Stadium on April 10.
This time, he quieted a New York team that’s been on a major tear at the plate. The AL East leaders scored 90 runs and hit 21 homers in their previous 10 games.
“That’s about as good as you can throw a knuckleball,” Teixeira said. “You don’t see many of them, but he had a good one.”
New York is batting .185 (17 for 92) against Wright and fellow knuckleballer R.A. Dickey of the Toronto Blue Jays this season. The Yankees are scheduled to face Dickey on Friday night.
McCann had an MRI that showed inflammation around the medial collateral ligament on the inside of his left knee. He hopes two days of rest and steady treatment will be enough to get him back in the starting lineup. “That’s going to be the big test, moving side to side and blocking (balls),” he said. John Ryan Murphy was behind the plate for Severino’s debut. “I was definitely looking forward to catching him,” McCann said.
Pablo Sandoval doubled twice for Boston, extending his hitting streak against the Yankees to 13 games dating to September 2013. … Ortiz has homered off 34 Yankees pitchers, more than any other player in big league history, the team said in citing research by the Elias Sports Bureau. “We don’t leave New York without David probably going deep one time,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “But there’s no question we’ll see Severino a lot in years to come, and that’s a good-looking young pitcher.”
Red Sox rookie left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez (6-3) starts the series finale Thursday night against LHP CC Sabathia (4-8).
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