Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Luis Severino, Aaron Judge help Yankees top Indians to force Game 5

NEW YORK — Luis Severino bounced back from his playoff debacle, slumping Aaron Judge delivered a big hit and the Yankees took advantage of shoddy defense to beat the Indians 7-3 Monday night and push their AL Division Series to a decisive Game 5.

Gary Sanchez homered and Judge laced an early two-run double for his only hit of the series to go with 12 strikeouts in 15 at-bats.

"There's a lot of confidence in that room," New York manager Joe Girardi said.

Cleveland starter Trevor Bauer struggled on three days' rest and was chased in the second inning. But it was on the wet Yankee Stadium field where the Indians really flopped, committing a season-high four errors that marked a franchise record for a postseason game and led to six unearned runs. The defending AL champions made only 76 errors all season, the lowest total in the league.

"The whole night, we made it hard on ourselves to win," Indians manager Terry Francona said.

After preventing a three-game sweep with a 1-0 win Sunday night, the wild-card Yankees will start CC Sabathia against his original team in Game 5 at Cleveland on Wednesday. Indians ace Corey Kluber gets the ball in a rematch from Game 2, when he was hit hard.

As the Yankees closed out the victory, fans chanted, "We want Kluber."

"It's hard to imagine giving it to somebody better," Francona said of Kluber. "We're looking forward to it."

The winner will face Houston in the AL Championship Series after the Astros finished off Boston in four games earlier Monday to win their ALDS.

Just taking two in a row to send the series back to Cleveland was no small feat for the Yankees. The last time the Indians lost consecutive games was Aug. 22-23 at home against Boston, just before starting their AL-record 22-game winning streak. From that point on, Cleveland had gone 35-4 before arriving at Yankee Stadium for Game 3 of the ALDS.

Severino got only one out in the wild-card game against Minnesota last Tuesday, but was bailed out by his teammates as New York advanced with an 8-4 victory. This time, the 23-year-old came through.

Handed an early 5-0 lead, the right-hander struck out nine in seven innings and gave up four hits, including Carlos Santana's two-run homer and Roberto Perez's solo shot.

"I think he was able to relax a lot more. He was able to control his adrenaline," Girardi said. "I told him after the game, he grew up a lot today.''

Tommy Kahnle relieved a wild Dellin Betances in the eighth and got six outs for his first save of the season as New York improved to 3-0 when facing playoff elimination this year.

Sanchez hit his second home run of the series off Bryan Shaw in the sixth to make it 7-3.

A rainy day prevented both teams from taking batting practice on the field. But the tarp was pulled and play started right on time, with fans in hooded ponchos bunched below the overhangs seeking cover from a heavy drizzle.

Showers dissipated in the bottom of the first, though a few puddles remained on the slick warning track all night.

The first of two costly errors by normally sure-handed third baseman Giovanny Urshela, a .224 hitter in the lineup for his defense, was a painful one. Starlin Castro's sinking line drive in the second struck him just above the left ankle and caromed away for an error.

Shaken up, Urshela was checked by a trainer but stayed in the game.

With two outs, Todd Frazier pulled a 78 mph curve to deep left and it landed smack on the foul line for an RBI double. A frustrated Bauer gestured when he didn't get a strike-three call on a checked swing by Aaron Hicks, who soon singled home a run.

Brett Gardner singled and, after a mound visit from Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway, Judge had a gritty at-bat. The rookie slugger was 0-for-11 with nine strikeouts in the series before fighting back from 0-and-2 to a full count and lining a two-run double to the left-field wall on one hop.

After pulling in at second base, Judge clapped and pointed to the Yankees dugout.

Bauer managed only five outs after tossing two-hit ball with eight strikeouts over 62/3 innings during a 4-0 win in the series opener last Thursday. All four runs he allowed were unearned.

Urshela's two-out throwing error with the bases loaded in the third made it 5-0.

Frazier reached on pitcher Danny Salazar's two-base throwing error to start the fifth. He scored on Gardner's shallow sacrifice fly to center fielder Jason Kipnis, a second baseman moved to the outfield late this season. Kipnis began the year on the disabled list with a shoulder problem.

Before the game, Indians manager Terry Francona said the team hoped slugging DH Edwin Encarnacion would be available to pinch-hit. Also, Brandon Guyer is scheduled for surgery Wednesday in Arizona to repair a tendon in his left wrist, ending any chances of him playing in this postseason.

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