ST. LOUIS — The only respite the Yankees got from their shellacking in the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday came from a pair of rain delays that spanned two-plus hours.
In the nightcap, it came from their bullpen, especially Michael King, and the bottom of their lineup.
The combination was enough to salvage a split on a long, wet day at Busch Stadium, with the Cardinals winning Game 1, 11-4, and the Yankees claiming Game 2, 6-2.
After Luis Severino was shelled for a season-high nine runs (seven earned) across four-plus innings in the afternoon, the Yankees turned to a bullpen game at night and found a winning formula.
King was largely responsible for that.
The well-rested reliever came into a bases-loaded jam with two outs in the third inning of a 3-2 game and immediately got the final out before tossing three more scoreless innings on an efficient 36 pitches overall.
That bridged the gap to the late innings, and Wandy Peralta, Tommy Kahnle and Clay Holmes combined to finish off the Cardinals (34-48).
The Yankees’ offense was powered in Game 2 by Anthony Volpe and Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who each scored a pair of runs.
Volpe had his fifth straight multi-hit game, including an RBI triple, while Kiner-Falefa had three hits and a walk.
In the ninth, the Yankees added some insurance runs on a safety squeeze bunt by Jose Trevino and a two-run single by Gleyber Torres.
Earlier in the day, the Cardinals clobbered Severino for nine hits, including a pair of home runs, before knocking him out of the game with two on and no out in the fifth inning.
Two of the nine runs he allowed were unearned, because of a costly throwing error by third baseman Oswaldo Cabrera, but the right-hander still allowed plenty of loud contact — including seven balls hit at 95 mph or harder.
“I think this whole year has been concerning for me,” Severino said between games. “I want to be able to go out there and help my team. It’s frustrating that I can’t do that right now.”
Asked if he was healthy, Severino said, “Yeah, I feel pretty good right now.” But he now owns a 6.30 ERA through his first eight starts of the season, the beginning of which was delayed by a strained lat in spring training.
The first game was a slog for the Yankees, and that was before torrential downpours and winds entered the area before the bottom of the seventh inning, leading to a lengthy delay of 2 hours and 19 minutes.
There was another 18-minute delay before the bottom of the eighth inning, which Josh Donaldson pitched to save the bullpen for Game 2.
In his last start before Saturday, Severino threw six shutout innings against a dangerous Rangers lineup, which had manager Aaron Boone saying before this game, “I think he’s got a chance to go on a great run here for us.”
It proved to be wishful thinking, at least in the short term.
“Right now, I’m not at my best moment,” said Severino, who walked three and struck out only two. “I can’t make excuses. I just need to figure out a way to be consistent and get people out. … I’m not doing my job right now.”
Severino was at a loss for a response when asked what the biggest difference was between his start on Saturday and his last one. He said he felt he had made good pitches against the Cardinals.
Paul Goldschmidt drilled a three-run homer on an 0-1 slider below the zone in the third inning before Nolan Gorman crushed a two-run shot in the fourth on a first-pitch fastball up and in.
“He didn’t find that consistency with the slider,” Boone said. “The fastball was good early and had some life to it, got some swing and miss. But then I think he wore down a little bit and the profile of his fastball and slider weren’t great. … We just gotta get him more consistent right now with command and crispness of his stuff, outing after outing.”