Gary Sánchez redeemed his maddening season with a clutch homer and an even more important sacrifice fly, DJ LeMahieu drilled a go-ahead hit and the Yankees clinched their American League Wild Card Series with a 10-9 victory over the Indians on Wednesday at Progressive Field.
The Yankees will board a
The Yankees will board a happy flight to meet the Rays on the West Coast after Sánchez lifted a game-tying sacrifice fly in the ninth inning and LeMahieu — the league’s machine-like batting champion — grounded a single into center field that proved to be the difference in the showdown.
Sánchez’s sixth-inning homer had the Yanks counting outs, but Jonathan Loaisiga surrendered a game-tying, two-run double to pinch-hitter Jordan Luplow in the seventh and Aroldis Chapman surrendered Cesar Hernandez’s go-ahead hit in the eighth.
Riding high after a 12-3 rout in Tuesday’s Game 1, the Yankees were down early, watching Cleveland hang a first-inning four-spot on right-hander Masahiro Tanaka around a 33-minute rain delay. But New York slugged back.
Giancarlo Stanton launched a second-inning homer and the Bombers chased Carlos Carrasco with a triple and two walks in the fourth. Gio Urshela greeted flame-thrower James Karinchak with a grand slam, joining Gil McDougald (1951) and Tino Martinez (1998) as the only Yankees to hit a go-ahead postseason grand slam.
Stanton lifted a sacrifice fly in the fifth to extend the lead, but that didn’t hold. Cleveland placed two runners aboard in the bottom of the frame to chase Tanaka, who has wondered if he is pitching his final games in a Yankees uniform, and AL MVP candidate José Ramírez greeted Chad Green with a two-run double.
Batting ninth for the first time in his career, the embattled Sánchez connected for a wind-aided two-run homer off Triston McKenzie, briefly putting the Yanks back on top. Cleveland answered that with Luplow’s big hit off Loaisiga in the home half.