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Greg Bird’s homer the difference as Yankees defeat Indians 1-0 in ALDS Game 3

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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.

Freddie Freeman has elbow surgery

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Freddie Freeman‘s elbow began barking in the second half of the season and he was a shadow of himself in the month of September. The Braves rested him for half a minute in the season’s final week but he still played 158 games in 2019. They said he was good to go for the NLDS but he was clearly limited, going 4-for-22 in the Braves’ series loss to the Cardinals.

Today the Braves announced that Freeman underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow on Wednesday. The team said today that the procedure involved the removal of three fragmented loose bodies and the cleaning up of multiple bone spur formations.

It’s not clear if more rest down the stretch would’ve made a difference for him — and it’s not clear that the Braves had options at first base for the postseason that were substantially better than even a limited Freeman — but it’s clear that not having Freeman feeling like himself in the heart of the order was a problem.

Freeman is expected to be good-to-go for spring training.