The first Brazilian-born player in Major League Baseball history, Yan Gomes, stunned fans and his very own team by scoring a walk-off single to win the game 9-8 in favor of Cleveland. The 13-inning saga looked like it might continue into baseball eternity, but the break-out star squelched the Yankees’ hopes for an American League Division Series win.
The move propels the Indians to a 2-0 lead over the Yankees in the ALDS. The teams will face off again on Sunday for game 3 of the 5-game series.
Early innings had the Yankees blowing past Cleveland pitcher, Corey Kluber, and forcing him off the mound with New York gaining six runs on seven hits and two walks in under three innings of Friday’s game.
Still more of the team’s runs came in the third, when Starlin Castro‘s RBI single and Aaron Hicks‘ triple-scoring hit rocketed them to a three-run lead. Greg Bird added on a two-run smash in the fifth, this time off of the Indians’ pitcher Mike Clevinger.
Cleveland was down 8-3.
But the big boys of New York couldn’t keep the Indians from coming back strong.
Francisco Lindor heroed a grand slam, the Indians’ first in the playoffs since 1999, and his first of the year. Jay Bruce was not to be outshined a knocked a game-tying solo homer in the eighth inning.
The teams reached an impasse in the ninth inning with pitchers from both sides of the field shutting down batters.
The Indians came close to taking the lead in the 10th inning when Austin Jackson managed a two-out single. The ball was fielded by Chapman, who fumbled and tossed the ball beyond first base, where it bounced off of a photographer. The umps reviewed and determined that the ball was out of play, thereby nixing the Indians’ advantage.
The 11th inning saw the teams still tied 8-8. While the Yanks tried to capitalized on a similar faux pas by Cleveland third baseman Erik Gonzalez, the error allowed Todd Frazier to journey to second base. Frazier was replaced by pinch-runner Ronald Torreyes, but the night’s star, Yan Gomes, picked him off with a sharp throw up the middle to empty the bases.
Remarkably, after dragging through 13 innings of near-misses and ties that would not break, Cleveland experienced a taste of baseball gold. Austin Jackson led the bottom of the 13th inning with a four-pitch walk from the Yankees’ Dellin Betances and sole second base with his first stolen base of the playoffs. Finally, Yan Gomes singled him home for the walk-off win.
The Indians lead the ALDS with 2-0 in the series. The teams meet Sunday night at 7:30p.m. for game 3.