NEW YORK -- Aaron Hicks homered from both sides of the plate and Luis Severino struck out a career-high 11, leading the Yankees to their fourth consecutive victory Thursday, a 3-2 win that completed a series sweep of the Rays at Yankee Stadium.
Hicks accounted for all of the Yanks' scoring, homering off right-hander Matt Andriese in the first inning before slugging a go-ahead two-run shot on a hanging curveball from left-hander Xavier Cedeno in the seventh. Hicks said that he is working to adjust after a subpar first season in pinstripes.
"I've got to keep my swing short. I can't have a long swing," Hicks said. "If I play every day, then obviously I can get a little bit more loose with my swing, but when you don't play every day the timing goes away fast. I've got to make sure I have a short swing and solid contact."
Hicks' heroics helped make a winner of Severino, who limited the Rays to two runs over seven innings, picking up his first win as a starter since Sept. 27, 2015, against the White Sox in Chicago. Severino whiffed five of the last seven batters he faced.
"It gives me a lot of confidence," Severino said. "Not only to me, but to the team, because they trust me to be a starter."
Andriese was let down by his bullpen, having held New York to a run on five hits over the first six innings. Peter Bourjos hit a tiebreaking fifth-inning home run after entering the game in place of left fielder Mallex Smith, who sustained a tight right hamstring while running the bases.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED To the sticks: Having already homered from the left side of the plate in the first, Hicks went deep from the right side off Cedeno to give the Yankees the lead in the seventh. Statcast™ measured the second homer with an 100.7 mph exit velocity. It marked Hicks' second career multi-homer game and first as a Yankee, having also done so on May 13, 2013, with the Twins against the White Sox. He's the first Yankee to homer from both sides of the plate since Mark Teixeira on July 31, 2015.
"We'll get in a little bit of a rotation and spell guys and make sure he's getting his at-bats, because I think he can be really productive," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. More >
Great escape:Dellin Betances was in trouble quickly in the eighth, issuing a leadoff walk to No. 9 hitter Jesus Sucre and surrendering a single to Corey Dickerson that put runners at the corners with none out. The right-hander reared back to strike out both Kevin Kiermaier and Evan Longoria looking, then induced Brad Miller to hit a slow roller up the first-base line that Betances fielded himself for the third out.
"I was upset that I walked the leadoff guy," Betances said. "I just told myself, 'I can't let this runner score.' I've got to do the best I can and make pitches, and just try to stay as calm as I can. Just be smart in that situation."
"He competed really well. I think he got a little out of sorts, put himself in some jams a little bit. But he certainly did make some big pitches to get through it. And gave us a really, really good start. Happy for Matt the way he bounced back from his previous start, he threw the ball well tonight." -- Rays manager Kevin Cash, on Andriese's start
WHAT'S NEXT Rays: The Rays begin a four-game series against the Red Sox on Friday in a 7:10 p.m. ET contest at Fenway Park. Chris Archer (1-0, 2.45 ERA) will make his third start. Despite retiring the first 12 batters Saturday against the Blue Jays, and surrendering just two runs, he came away with a no-decision. He is 0-3 with a 7.30 ERA in five career starts at Fenway Park.
Yankees: The Yankees will host the Cardinals this weekend, marking St. Louis' first visit to the new Yankee Stadium. Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka (0-1, 11.74 ERA) will attempt to turn around a rough start to his season, opposed by right-hander Michael Wacha (1-0, 1.50 ERA). First pitch on Friday is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET.