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

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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.

Braves sweep Mets, take 2-game lead in East with 3 remaining

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ATLANTA — Dansby Swanson and Matt Olson homered for the third straight game, Travis d'Arnaud hit a go-ahead two-run single in the third inning, and Atlanta Braves beat the New York Mets 5-3, completing a three-game sweep of their NL East rival and taking a two-game lead in the division with three games to play.

The defending World Series champion Braves have been chasing the Mets the entire season. In the final series of the season, any combination of one Atlanta win or one Mets loss would give the Braves their fifth straight division title.

New York plays its final three games of the season against worst-in-the-majors Washington. Atlanta closed out the regular season with a three-game set in Miami. Should the season end Wednesday in a tie, Atlanta would win the division after claiming the season series 10-9 with Sunday’s victory.

The Braves won five of the last six games in the series, outscoring the Mets 42-19 over that stretch. New York had a 10 1/2-game lead on June 1 but now is the lower in the standings than at any point this season.

It was a lost weekend for New York, which came to Atlanta hoping to clinch its first division title since 2015. Instead, aces Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer lost Friday and Saturday before 15-game winner Chris Bassitt lasted just 2 2/3 innings on Sunday.

Swanson took Bassitt deep to right-center in the first with his 25th homer, and Atlanta took charge with a three-run third. Bassitt (15-9) issued a bases-loaded walk to Olson before d’Arnaud delivered a single up the middle to score Ronald Acuna Jr. and Austin Riley for a 4-3 lead. That chased Bassitt, who was charged with four runs, three hits and three walks.

Olson connected for his 33rd homer to make it 5-3 leading off the sixth, his 410-foot shot landing in the seats in right-center. Olson, in his first year with Atlanta, surpassed 100 RBIs for the second straight season.

Charlie Morton stranded runners on first and second in the first, but he gave up Daniel Vogelbach‘s 18th homer that tied it at 1 in the second. The righty struck out Francisco Lindor with runners on first and second to end the threat.

Jeff McNeil went deep off Morton in the third and Vogelbach followed with an RBI single to put the Mets up 3-1. Morton entered the game having allowed 28 homers, sixth-most in the NL.

Morton scuffled throughout his start, giving up three runs and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings as the 38-year-old made his first start since signing a $20 million, one-year contract to remain with Atlanta next season.

Dylan Lee (5-1) relieved Morton and pitched 1 1/3 innings, leaving after a walk to Brandon Nimmo with two outs in the sixth. Collin McHugh entered and struck out Francisco Lindor.

Raisel Iglesias faced four batters in the seventh, A.J. Minter faced the minimum in the eighth and closer Kenley Jansen converted his third save of the series with a clean ninth.

Jansen leads the NL with 40 saves in 47 chances.

The Braves’ bullpen, which posted a 1.70 ERA last month, pitched 8 2/3 scoreless innings the last two nights.

BIG NUMBERS

Atlanta leads the NL with 241 homers. And the Braves have their first 100-victory season since 2003.

TWO, DARN HOT

McNeil went 3 for 5 and has multiple hits in five straight games. His average is .326, one point behind the Dodgers’ Freddie Freeman for the NL batting title. In 23 career games at Truist Park, McNeil is hitting .395 with 12 runs, nine doubles, two homers, seven RBIs and four walks. … Jansen tied Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley for eighth place on the career list with 389. He’s also is the 10th closer to have four different seasons with at least 40 saves.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets All-Star RF Starling Marte (right middle finger fracture) has yet to begin swinging or throwing. … Braves 2B Ozzie Albies (broken right pinky finger) is still wearing a cast. … Braves RHP Spencer Strider still has not thrown as he gets treatment on a sore left oblique.

ATTENDANCE

The Braves drew 42,713 in their regular season finale, the club’s 42nd sellout of the season. Overall. that’s 3,129,931 for the season – and the most tickets sold since 2000. In 2019, the team’s last full season before the COVID-19 pandemic, Atlanta drew 2,655,100.

UP NEXT

Mets: RHP Carlos Carrasco (15-7, 3.95 ERA) will face Nationals RHP Cory Abbott (0-4, 5.11).

Braves: RHP Bryce Elder (2-3, 2.76 ERA) will face Marlins LHP Jesus Luzardo (3-7, 3.53).