Consider it another challenge met.
The Yankees looked at this series against the defending World Series champs as a test, and just like they did in Houston a little less than a month ago, they passed.
With Wednesday’s 5-3 win in The Bronx, the Yankees won a second straight series against the Astros, thanks largely to Luis Severino, who was terrific again.
The right-hander outdid Dallas Keuchel, giving up just two runs in seven innings, while matching a season-high 11 strikeouts. The Yankees have won all but one of the right-hander’s dozen starts this year.
His lone mistake came in the fifth, when he surrendered a two-run homer to Max Stassi that gave the Astros a 2-1 lead.
The Yankees’ offense responded with a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning to retake the lead and then gave Severino and the bullpen some insurance with two more runs in the sixth.
Gary Sanchez snapped an 0-for-19 skid with a two-run single through the right side of the infield to give the Yankees the lead for good.
David Robertson tossed a scoreless eighth and Aroldis Chapman picked up the save, despite allowing an RBI double to Stassi in the ninth. He fanned George Springer on three pitches to end it.
The Yankees face the Orioles in Baltimore on Thursday, the start of four straight series against teams that began Wednesday at .500 or worse.
It hardly seems to matter who the opponent is for Severino, who retired the first 11 batters he faced before Jose Altuve’s grounder went through the right side of the infield vacated by the shift in the fourth.
The offense got to Keuchel for four runs in five-plus innings.
The Yankees took an early lead when Aaron Hicks worked a leadoff walk and moved to third on Aaron Judge’s rocket single to left. Hicks scored on Giancarlo Stanton’s sacrifice fly to center, which was caught by a diving Jake Marisnick.
They wasted a chance to add more after Sanchez walked and he and Judge advanced on a Keuchel wild pitch with one out. Tyler Austin struck out and Gleyber Torres lined to first.
The left-hander settled down after walking Sanchez and retired 12 of the next 13 he faced.
Severino cruised until the fourth.
He made an athletic play on Tony Kemp’s comebacker to start the inning, went to a full count on Alex Bregman with one out before giving up the single to Altuve. Severino followed with another full count before fanning Carlos Correa.
He walked Marwin Gonzalez with one out in the fifth and after Gonzalez moved to second on a groundout by Evan Gattis, Stassi crushed a 2-1 fastball into the visitors’ bullpen in left-center to give Houston a 2-1 lead.
The Yankees rallied in the bottom of the inning with singles by Austin Romine and Judge putting runners on the corners with two outs for Stanton, who fought back from an 0-2 count to draw a walk.
That brought up Sanchez with the bases loaded. The catcher punched a single through the right side of the infield, with Altuve shaded up the middle. It scored a pair of runs and put the Yankees back up, 3-2.
Austin then whiffed for a third straight time to strand two more runners.
The Yankees finally tacked on to their lead in the sixth, as Torres ripped a leadoff double to left, moved to third when Keuchel crossed up Stassi behind the plate and scored on a Didi Gregorius single through a drawn-in infield.
A Hicks opposite-field double scored Romine to make it 5-2.
The only trouble Severino had the rest of the way came in the seventh, but with two on and two out, Severino got pinch-hitter Springer swinging on a 3-2 slider.
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