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Yan Gomes walks off after 13-inning affair, Indians beat Yankees 9-8 for a 2-0 lead in ALDS


The Indians took a 2-0 lead in the ALDS after an electric finish on Friday night, defeating the Yankees 9-8 with Yan Gomes‘ walk-off single in the 13th inning.

The Yankees knocked Cleveland ace Corey Kluber around in the first three innings, forcing him off the mound with six runs on seven hits and two walks in 2 2/3 innings of Friday’s game. Most of the team’s runs came in the third, when Starlin Castro‘s RBI single and Aaron Hicks‘ three-run bomb boosted them to a three-run advantage. Greg Bird tacked on another two-run shot in the fifth, this time off of Indians’ right-hander Mike Clevinger, but the Bronx Bombers couldn’t keep their AL rivals at bay forever.

Francisco Lindor stepped up to the plate in the sixth with a grand slam, his first of the year and the Indians’ first in the playoffs since 1999. Jay Bruce followed suit with a game-tying solo homer in the eighth inning, but the two reached an impasse in the ninth with shutdown performances from Andrew Miller, Joe Smith and Aroldis Chapman.

The Indians nearly gained a lead in the 10th inning after Austin Jackson came through with a two-out single. The ball was fielded by Chapman, who stumbled and tossed the ball well past first base, where it was deflected by a photographer. The subsequent challenge determined that the ball was out of play, erasing the Indians’ advantage and giving Chapman another opportunity to retire the side.

In the 11th, still tied 8-8, the Yankees capitalized on a similar gaffe by Cleveland third baseman Erik Gonzalez, whose throwing error allowed Todd Frazier to reach second base. Frazier was promptly replaced by pinch-runner Ronald Torreyes, but Yan Gomes picked him off with a sharp throw up the middle to clean up the basepaths.

Finally, after slogging through 13 innings of near-misses, luck came down on Cleveland’s side. Austin Jackson led off the bottom of the 13th inning with a four-pitch walk from Dellin Betances and scooted into second base with his first stolen base of the playoffs. Yan Gomes singled him home for the walk-off win.

The two will meet again on Sunday for Game 3 of the ALDS at 7:30 PM ET. Carlos Carrasco (18-6, 3.29 ERA) will be on the bump for the Indians, while Masahiro Tanaka (12-13, 4.74 ERA) will make his first postseason start with the Yankees since the 2015 Wild Card game.

Danny Duffy exits spring training game with left shoulder tightness

Danny Duffy
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Royals’ Opening Day starter Danny Duffy weathered a minor scare during Saturday’s Cactus League game against the Diamondbacks. The left-hander was removed from his final spring training start after experiencing some left shoulder tightness in the second and third innings. No lasting damage appears to have been done — Duffy told reporters that he simply felt a slight ache, nothing more — and it looks like he’ll remain on track to open the season with the team next Thursday.

The 29-year-old southpaw is coming off one of his best performances to date. Despite losing a few weeks to an oblique strain and elbow soreness, he went 9-10 in 24 starts and finished the 2017 season with a 3.81 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 over 146 1/3 innings. While Duffy entered camp with a clean bill of health, he struggled to execute against his spring training opponents and racked up 13 runs, four homers, seven walks and 11 strikeouts in 13 innings of Cactus League play.

The Royals are scheduled to kick off their home opener against the White Sox on Thursday, March 29 at 4:15 PM ET. Barring any further complications with his shoulder, Duffy will take the mound for the Royals, while James Shields is expected to make his first Opening Day appearance for the White Sox.