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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.

Astros claim AL pennant with walk-off win against the Yankees

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Following a rollercoaster performance on Saturday, the Astros clinched the American League Championship Series with a decisive 6-4 walk-off win against the Yankees, claiming their second AL pennant and earning a well-deserved entrance to the World Series.

Both clubs decided to preserve possible Game 7 starters Luis Severino and Gerrit Cole, electing to have a “bullpen day” for a pivotal Game 6. Chad Green took the mound for the Yankees, tossing one inning before handing the ball off to a long line of relievers, while Brad Peacock‘s rare playoff start was capped at 1 2/3 innings. According to ESPN Stats & Info, that made it the first postseason game since 1999 in which neither starting pitcher lasted two innings or longer.

All told, the two clubs utilized a total of 13 pitchers to make it through nine innings. The Astros lost Ryan Pressly to a worrisome knee injury in the third, but were able to lean on José Urquidy for 2 2/3 innings of one-run, five-strikeout ball. Although Yankees’ bullpen fought back in every inning, they had considerable difficulty recovering from Yuli Gurriel‘s three-run homer off of Green in the bottom of the first:

Still, New York managed to get in a couple of knocks as well: first, with Gary Sanchez‘s RBI single in the second inning, then with Gio Urshela‘s 395-foot blast in the fourth inning — the second of his postseason career to date. That wasn’t enough to close the gap, however, and Alex Bregman‘s productive groundout in the sixth helped cushion the Astros’ lead as they headed toward the final few innings of the series.

That lead started to look a little shaky in the ninth. Only three outs away from a ticket to the World Series, Houston closer Roberto Osuna gave up a leadoff single to Urshela, which was quickly followed by a jaw-dropping, full-count, game-tying two-run shot from DJ LeMahieu that barely cleared the right field fence.

With the threat of extra innings and a potential loss looming, the Astros engineered a last-minute rally to regain the lead and stake their claim for the pennant. With two outs and no runners on, George Springer took a five-pitch walk from Aroldis Chapman. In the next at-bat, Houston pinned their hopes on José Altuve — and he didn’t disappoint, lifting a 2-1 slider out to left field for a 406-foot, two-RBI homer that confirmed the Astros’ series win.

The 2019 World Series will mark the third Fall Classic appearance for the Astros and the first for the Nationals. It all begins on Tuesday night.