By RONALD BLUM AP Baseball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) _ Helped by a great first-inning catch that forced center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury from the game with a concussion and sprained neck, Luis Severino won for the first time in a month and led the New York Yankees over the Kansas City Royals 3-0 on Wednesday night.
On the first pitch of the game, Ellsbury sprinted 107 feet and raised his glove above his head to catch Alcides Escobar’s fly. Ellsbury’s head jarred into the wall as the ball landed in his glove, and he crumpled to the field.
Ellsbury was checked by manager Joe Girardi and head athletic trainer Steve Donohue and remained in the game, then was replaced by Aaron Hicks starting the second. Girardi said Ellsbury will go on the seven-day concussion disabled list.
Didi Gregorius homered against Jason Hammel (1-6) leading off the third inning, Gregorius’ seventh hit in a span of 12 at-bats. New York tacked on runs with Matt Holliday’s sacrifice fly in the sixth and Brett Gardner’s RBI single over a drawn-in infield in the seventh.
His fastball reaching 99 mph, Severino (3-2) allowed four hits over eight innings, struck out seven, walked one and threw a career-high 114 pitches. Severino, who lowered his ERA to 3.11, had been 0-1 in four outings since beating Boston on April 26.
This year has been quite a turnaround for the 23-year-old right-hander, who lasted only seven starts last season before going to the disabled list and then the minors with an 0-6 record and 7.46 ERA.
Dellin Betances struck out the side in a perfect ninth for his fourth save as the Royals were shut out for a major league-high fifth time.
Hammel, working entirely from the stretch for his fourth straight start, gave up three runs, six hits and two walks in six-plus innings. Hammel, whose 1.69 WHIP is second-worst to Baltimore’s Kevin Gausman among qualified starters, had not pitched since allowing five runs over six innings in a 7-1 loss to the Yankees on May 16. He started with a nine-pitch first innings _ all strikes.
A boy about seven rows behind the third-base dugout was hit on the head by part of Chris Carter’s bat, which shattered on a seventh-inning grounder. Medical personnel carried out the boy, who appeared to have a leg that was in a brace.
Gary Sanchez singled leading off the sixth and scored on Holliday’s fly after stealing second and advancing on a wild throw by Salvador Perez, the All-Star catcher’s first error since Aug. 25 against Miami.
Royals LF Alex Gordon went 1 for 3 with two strikeouts after missing three games for the birth of daughter Joey Lynn.
Royals: RHP Nate Karns was put on the 10-day DL because of nerve irritation in his pitching arm, a move retroactive to Sunday.
Yankees: LHP Aroldis Chapman (shoulder) hopes to start throwing Saturday.
RHP Masahiro Tanaka (5-3), who has allowed 14 runs and seven homers over 4 2/3 innings in his last two starts, starts for New York in Thursday’s series finale. RHP Miguel Almonte makes his first big league start for the Royals following nine relief appearances two years ago.
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