Yankees first baseman Greg Bird proved to be the deciding factor in Sunday evening’s 1-0 victory over the Indians in Game 3 of the ALDS. The Yankees, as a result, stave off elimination and force a Game 4.
Indians starter Carlos Carrasco and Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka traded zeroes in a rare — for this postseason, anyway — pitchers’ duel. Carrasco went 5 2/3 innings, scattering three hits and three walks while striking out seven. He exited after loading the bases with two outs in the fifth inning, but Andrew Miller bailed him out of that jam.
Tanaka, meanwhile, limited the Tribe to three hits and a walk with seven strikeouts in seven innings. His one bout with adversity came in the sixth when Francisco Lindor appeared to have hit a two-run home run, but right fielder Aaron Judge made a small leap to bring it back from over the fence at Yankee Stadium. Tanaka was very thankful, as you might imagine.
Bird gave Tanaka the lead in the bottom half of the seventh, slugging a solo home run to right field on a 1-1, 95 MPH fastball. Miller yielded just one home run during the regular season to lefties in 71 plate appearances.
David Robertson took over in the eighth, issuing a one-out walk to Michael Brantley. That brought manager Joe Girardi out to the mound to bring in Aroldis Chapman for a five-out save. Chapman, as expected, fanned Yan Gomes and Giovanny Urshela. In the ninth, Chapman struck out Lindor, then worked around consecutive one-out singles by striking out Jay Bruce and getting Carlos Santana to fly out to left field.
In total, the Indians were held by Tanaka, Robertson, and Chapman to zero runs on five hits. Across 162 regular season games this year, that happened only four times to the Tribe offense.
The ALDS continues on Monday with Game 4 at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees will send out Luis Severino. The Indians haven’t announced their starter yet.