Gregorius homers twice as Yanks cap comeback, KO Indians
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[October 12, 2017]
CLEVELAND -- The last time New
York Yankees manager Joe Girardi was in Cleveland, "I was about as
low as I could be as a baseball player or baseball coach or whatever
Girardi and his team returned to Cleveland on Wednesday night, and
they completed a stunning comeback to upset the winningest team in
the American League.
Didi Gregorius hit two home runs and drove in three runs, and the
Yankees beat the Cleveland Indians 5-2 in the deciding Game 5 of the
American League Division Series at Progressive Field.
After losing the first two games of the series, the Yankees won
three in a row, outscoring Cleveland 13-5. The Indians hadn't lost
three consecutive games since July 30-Aug. 1.
"It's hard to believe, because we just beat a really, really good
team," Girardi said.
"It's disappointing," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. "We
came down the stretch playing very good baseball. Nobody wanted the
season to be over. It doesn't wind down. It comes to a crashing
New York advances to oppose the Houston Astros in the American
League Championship Series. Game 1 will be played Friday in Houston.
The Indians, who won 102 games during the regular season, including
an American League-record 22-game winning streak, were picked by
many to make a second straight World Series appearance. However, New
York's pitching staff had other ideas. In the last three games of
the series, Yankees pitchers completely shut down Cleveland's
Cleveland hit .152 as a team in Games 3, 4 and 5, and New York held
the lead in all 27 innings. The Indians, who made the fewest errors
in the American League this year, committed seven errors in the last
"We did things in this series that were out of character for our
team," said Francona.
Cleveland won the first two games of the series, including a wild,
13-inning, 9-8 victory in Game 2. In that game, Girardi failed to
challenge an umpire's call that would have prevented the Indians'
Francisco Lindor from hitting a momentum-swinging grand slam.
"I screwed up, plain and simple. So, for me, what those guys did for
me, I'll never forget it," Girardi said of his players rallying to
win the series.
Yankees starter CC Sabathia pitched four strong innings Wednesday
before faltering in the fifth. He struck out nine and was charged
with two runs in 4 1/3 innings. David Robertson (1-0) entered and
pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings to get the win.
Aroldis Chapman shut out Cleveland over the last two innings to pick
up his second save of the series.
Gregorius went 3-for-4, and Brett Gardner added three hits and an
RBI for New York.
[to top of second column]
Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius (18) celebrates with catcher Gary
Sanchez (24) after hitting his second home run during the third
inning of game five of the 2017 ALDS playoff baseball series against
the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David
Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Cleveland starter Corey Kluber (0-1) lasted only 3 2/3 innings,
giving up three runs on three hits and two walks.
Leading 3-2, the Yankees scored two insurance runs in the ninth
inning as a result of an RBI single by Gardner off Cody Allen,
capping a 12-pitch at-bat. The second run on the play scored on a
throwing error by right fielder Jay Bruce.
The Yankees wasted little time in taking the lead against Kluber.
Gregorius, the No. 3 hitter, hit a 1-2 pitch into the seats in right
field for his first home run.
"It was a fastball, and I put a really good swing on it," Gregorius
The Yankees didn't score again until Gregorius batted again. This
time, in the third inning, he hit an 0-1 pitch into the right field
seats for a two-run homer to make it 3-0.
"He threw me a curveball or slider or cutter inside again, I put a
good swing on it, and it went out," Gregorius said.
Sabathia, meanwhile, was mesmerizing Cleveland hitters. The big
lefty retired the first nine batters he faced, striking out six of
The Indians finally solved Sabathia in the fifth inning with four
straight one-out singles, by Austin Jackson, Jay Bruce, Roberto
Perez and Giovanny Urshela.
The hits by Perez and Urshela produced runs, cutting the Yankees'
lead to 3-2, but that was as close as Cleveland got.
NOTES: Prior to hitting home runs in his first two at-bats against
RHP Corey Kluber on Wednesday night, Yankees SS Didi Gregorius was
2-for-15 in his career vs. the former AL Cy Young Award winner. ...
New York DH Jacoby Ellsbury, who has reached first base on catcher's
interference a major-league-record 31 times in his career, reached
on catcher's interference in the second inning. ... Kluber, who led
the major leagues with a 2.25 ERA this year, had a 12.79 ERA in two
starts in the Division Series. ... Indians DH Edwin Encarnacion was
back in the lineup for Game 5 after missing the previous two games
with a sprained right ankle. He went 0-for-4. ... Yankees RF Aaron
Judge went 0-for-5 with four strikeouts. He finished 1-for-20 with
16 strikeouts in the series.
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