You Can Jump Back on The Bandwagon, Yankees Win

11 Oct, 2017

Sir Didi Gregorius homered twice, CC Sabathia rolled back the clock with nine strikeouts before turning it over to the bullpen in the fifth inning and the Yankees completed their historic comeback from a daunting deficit, advancing past the Indians with a 5-2 victory on Wednesday night in Game 5 of the American League Division Series.

New York will now face the Houston Astros in the AL Championship Series presented by Camping World. Game 1 is scheduled for Friday at Minute Maid Park.

Participating in their fourth elimination game in the past eight days, the Yankees never trailed in the final three ALDS games. They jumped in front early again on Wednesday thanks to Gregorius, who launched a solo home run in the first inning and a two-run shot in the third as Cleveland ace Corey Kluber was dispatched to his second early exit of the series.

Winning pitcher David Robertson hurled 2 2/3 scoreless innings, Brett Gardner delivered two insurance runs in the ninth with a single to end an epic 12-pitch at-bat against Cody Allen and Aroldis Chapman converted a six-out save, knocking off the defending AL champions as the Yankees became the 10th team to advance after trailing 0-2 in a best-of-five postseason series.

“Everybody, everyone played a part in this,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “I don’t think there’s anyone that didn’t play a part in this, and that’s the great thing about it. And the fight in these guys, so proud of them.”

The Indians are the first team since the 2003 Athletics to win the first two games of a Division Series at home before being eliminated by dropping three straight. Dating back to last year’s World Series, the Indians have also lost six straight close-out games, and they are 2-8 in close-out games under manager Terry Francona.

Kluber lasted just 3 2/3 innings before Francona turned the game over to the bullpen. The AL Cy Young Award front-runner, who gave up homers to Gary Sanchez and Aaron Hicks in Game 2 on Friday, had never allowed multiple home runs in consecutive starts before this series. Kluber had also never gone fewer than four innings in back-to-back starts.

The all-time leader in starts and innings pitched at Progressive Field, Sabathia seemed to thoroughly enjoy the early stages of his trip down memory lane. The former Tribe ace grinned widely after he pounced off the mound to snare Roberto Perez’s popped-up bunt in the third inning, leaving a divot in the infield turf, part of a string in which he retired the first nine Indians and 13 of the first 14.

“Whatever you say isn’t going to make anybody feel better tonight, but we win together and we lost together,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “It was an honor to go through this year with these guys, and there’s times it hurt, like tonight. But it’s quite a group, and I feel like a better person for going through the year with these guys.”

Image Yankees twitter

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