The Cleveland Guardians were down to their final strike, but the scrappy team got it done again.
The Guardians scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat the New York Yankees 6-5, and now lead the best-of-five series two games to one.
Wandy Peralta retired the first five batters he faced, but after back-to-back bloop hits to put the winning run at the plate, Aaron Boone went with the rightly Clarke Schmidt. However, he allowed back-to-back singles to load the bases, cut the Yanks’ lead to one, and put the tying and winning runs in scoring position. He struck out Josh Naylor, but Oscar Gonzalez, who sent the Guardians to the ALDS with a walk-off homer, lined a single up the middle to score two runs and win the game.
The Guardians got on the board early. Steven Kwan scored on a Josh Naylor single after his leadoff double, and in the second, Kwan had an RBI single himself.
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But Aaron Judge reminded fans he’s still Aaron Judge, even after going 0-for-9 with eight strikeouts in his first 10 plate appearances this series. He bombed a 449-foot two-run homer off Triston McKenzie in the third to tie the game.
In the fourth, rookie Oswaldo Cabrera, who was dropped from the five-hole to the ninth spot, blasted a two-run shot of his own to give the Yanks a 4-2 lead. McKenzie allowed four runs on four hits in his five innings of work, walking one and striking out five.
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Luis Severino then settled down, at one point retiring 13 in a row. But he allowed back-to-back two-out singles, prompting Aaron Boone to bring in Lou Trivino. Yet he allowed a single to Will Brennan to put Cleveland within one. With that, Severino finished with 5.2 innings of three-run ball while allowing eight hits, striking out six.
Harrison Bader got the run right back in the seventh, though, with a solo shot, his second home run in his last three games. However, it apparently wasn’t enough.
It was a rough defensive night for Isiah Kiner-Falefa – while not formally charged with an error, the Guardians’ first run could have been prevented had he not buckled on the ball that went under his glove. In the sixth, he couldn’t get Andres Gimenez out on an infield single, who eventually came around to score.
The Yankees are made to beat you with the home run – they did their job and hit three. The Guardians are made to scrap and claw to a win – they had 15 hits, 13 of them singles. The latter won.
The Yankees went into this series as heavy favorites – they are now on the brink of elimination.
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The Guardians will have Cal Quantrill on the mound for what they hope is a series clincher, while the Yankees will ask Gerrit Cole to save their season and send the season back to the Bronx on Monday.