Yankees drub Indians, force deciding Game 5
NEW YORK — Early Saturday morning, the New York Yankees took the short flight from Cleveland, feeling angered and disappointed, knowing they let a big opportunity slip away by blowing a five-run lead.
Instead of letting those feelings boil over, the Yankees took care of things at home and ensured they will get another trip to Cleveland.
Aaron Judge capped a four-run second inning with a two-run double, and New York capitalized on shoddy defense by the Cleveland Indians to even the American League Division Series at two games apiece with a 7-3 victory Monday night at Yankee Stadium.
“We’ve gotten it back to 2-2, and we got a shot now,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “So it’s a totally different feeling than it was the other day, and these guys have picked me up.”
The decisive Game 5 is Wednesday in Cleveland, where the Indians will be looking to snap a five-game losing streak in elimination games. The Yankees will try to complete a comeback from a 2-0 deficit to win an ALDS for the second time.
“Obviously there’s a big swing in emotions in this game,” Yankees designated hitter Chase Headley said. “The momentum obviously was not in our favor coming home, but we did a good job of swinging it back in our favor, and having said that, we expect a tough game there on Wednesday.
“We did the only thing that we could do. We’re coming home down 0-2, we’re going back there 2-2. That’s the best thing we could possibly do, and we feel good about that.”
It was a situation some might not have anticipated after Girardi was criticized for a few questionable decisions in New York’s 9-8, 13-inning loss Friday. Most notable was his decision not to challenge Lonnie Chisenhall’s bat being hit with a pitch, which ultimately led to Francisco Lindor’s grand slam and Girardi hearing loud boos in baseline introductions before Game 3.
Two days after Girardi admitted he screwed up, the Yankees kept their season going, following up a 1-0 win in Game 3 by getting numerous contributions in Game 4.
Judge, who was hitless in his first 11 at-bats of the series and still struck out four times Monday, gave the Yankees a 4-0 lead with a double to deep left field on the eighth pitch of his at-bat against Trevor Bauer (1-1).
Todd Frazier sparked the inning with an RBI double and scored on a bloop single by Aaron Hicks. Frazier added a run on a sacrifice fly by Brett Gardner in the fifth. Gary Sanchez capped the scoring with his second homer of the series, giving the Yankees a four-run lead in the sixth.
Luis Severino (1-0) also helped as he rebounded from getting only one out in the wild-card game, allowing three runs and four hits in seven innings. He gave up a two-run homer to Carlos Santana in the fifth and a solo shot to Roberto Perez but little else during a 113-pitch outing.
Severino struck out nine and walked one.
Also contributing was Tommy Kahnle, who recorded five strikeouts in a six-out save. He entered after Dellin Betances opened the eighth with two walks but fanned two in the eighth and struck out Chisenhall to send the series back to Cleveland.
“It feels great,” Kahnle said. “That was our main goal, to get to the next day and give us a chance to win the series.”
New York’s first six runs occurred after the Indians made three of their four errors.
Third baseman Giovanny Urshela booted a ground ball by Starlin Castro that would have been the second out of the second inning. In the third, Urshela made a high throw to first baseman Santana on a grounder by Gardner, scoring Castro on a play that would have been the final out of the inning.
“It’s tough,” Perez said. “He’s a good defender. In that situation, we can’t do anything about it.”
Reliever Danny Salazar made the third miscue to start the fifth on a soft grounder by Frazier, who scored New York’s sixth run.
Cleveland registered its highest error total in a postseason game since also making four in Game 5 of the 1995 AL Championship Series. The miscues resulted in six unearned runs, the most allowed by the Indians in a postseason game.
“We made it hard on ourselves to win,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “We kept trying, but we kept shooting ourselves in the foot.”
Cleveland used every reliever except Andrew Miller after Bauer’s curveball was not as sharp as the series opener when he took a no-hitter into the sixth. Pitching on three days’ rest for the second time in the postseason (also Game 5 of the 2016 World Series), Bauer allowed four unearned runs on four hits in 1 2/3 innings.
He was lifted after intentionally walking Didi Gregorius following Judge’s double. Mike Clevinger gave up the fifth run following Urshela’s second error.
NOTES: DH Edwin Encarnacion was not in the starting lineup for the second consecutive game. Cleveland manager Terry Francona said he was hoping to use him as a pinch hitter, but Encarnacion did not play. ... Yankees DH Chase Headley was inserted into the starting lineup in place of Jacoby Ellsbury, who is 0-for-8 in the postseason. Headley went 0-for-4. ... Former Yankees closer Mariano Rivera threw out the ceremonial first pitch.