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.