CLEVELAND -- The Yankees were on the wrong end of a dominant pitching performance in Thursday's series opener, when Corey Kluber shut them down in a complete-game effort. Luis Severino returned the favor in the finale, continuing to solidify his standing as the rotation's ace.
Severino limited the Indians to a run on two hits over 6 2/3 innings, striking out nine with a walk as the Yanks salvaged a split of the four-game series with an 8-1 victory. Jacoby Ellsbury and Aaron Judge contributed the big hits, but Severino's right arm stole the show.
"At this point, you expect he's going to give you a real good chance to win the game," catcher Austin Romine said. "He kept the game where it was pretty much until the seventh inning. That's going to give us a chance to chip away at the good pitchers they've got going over there. It was pretty dominant."
Cleveland's lone run came on Michael Brantley's solo home run with two outs in the bottom of the first inning. From there, Severino held the Tribe to 0-for-18 until Edwin Encarnacion stroked a two-out single in the seventh inning, the final batter Severino faced.
"I'm here to compete every time they give me the ball," said Severino, who retired 11 straight after Francisco Lindor's leadoff walk in the fourth. "I'm going to go over there and give 100 percent. I think all my pitches were there -- my changeup was good; my fastball command was good."
New York tied the game in the sixth on Chase Headley's sacrifice fly, then pulled ahead as Ellsbury ripped a three-run triple to chase Carlos Carrasco, and Ronald Torreyes greeted Bryan Shaw with a run-scoring single. Judge slugged his American League-leading 35th homer, a three-run shot, in the seventh.
"With Sevy, you know you've just got to get one or two runs and you'll be set all game," Judge said. "Once we got that across to tie it up, we knew we had a good shot to win this game."
In five starts since the All-Star break, Severino has compiled a 0.83 ERA, permitting just three earned runs in 32 2/3 innings.
"He's on the corners. He's throwing 100 for the whole game," Romine said. "His slider, he's got two different kinds of sliders. He can do a lot of stuff with his pitches. He can manipulate his slider to do a lot of different things. When you've got 100 coming at you and you throw a lot of sliders, it's going to be hard to hit."
Though the Yankees moved at the non-waiver Trade Deadline to add front-line pitching in Sonny Gray and Jaime Garcia, there is reason to believe that their best starter -- and their potential Game 1 starter, should they need one -- was on the roster all along.
"Sevy is really good," manager Joe Girardi said. "[What needs] to continue for him is to take steps forward. I've said all along: Sevy's stuff does not fall off. As he gets late in the game, it does not fall off."
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.