NEW YORK—Luis Severino, Aaron Judge, and the N.Y. Yankees are headed back to Cleveland for a decisive Game 5—thanks to plenty of help from the Indians.
Severino rebounded from his playoff debacle, Judge delivered a big hit, and the Yankees took advantage of shoddy defence by Cleveland to beat the Indians 7-3 last night and even their AL Division Series at two games apiece.
“We've got a shot now,” said Yankees' manager Joe Girardi, who was harshly criticized for his Game 2 decisions.
“So it's a totally different feeling than it was the other day, and these guys have picked me up,” he added.
Gary Sanchez homered while a slumping Judge laced an early two-run double for his only hit of the series to go with 12 strikeouts in 15 at-bats.
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 post-season game and led to six unearned runs.
The defending AL champs made only 76 errors all season, the lowest total in the league.
“The whole night, we made it hard on ourselves to win,” conceded manager Terry Francona.
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 on Wednesday.
Indians' ace Corey Kluber gets the ball in a rematch from Game 2, when he was hit hard by New York.
“It's hard to imagine giving it to somebody better,” Francona said.
“We're looking forward to it.”
The winner faces Houston in the AL Championship Series after the Astros beat Boston 5-4 earlier yesterday to finish off the Red Sox in four games in their ALDS.
“We've got a young team and they're hungry,” Severino said.
Simply 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 in the Bronx for Game 3 of the ALDS.
Minus injured slugger Edwin Encarnacion, the Indians have scored three runs in two games since.
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 ace was determined to come through—and he did.
“I think he was able to relax a lot more. He was able to control his adrenaline,” Girardi said.
“He was able to channel things down and make his pitch, as opposed to just trying to power his way through it.”
Handed an early 5-0 lead and showing lots of emotion on the mound, the fired-up righty struck out nine in seven innings.
With the crowd of 47,316 chanting his name, Severino threw 113 pitches and gave up just four hits, including Carlos Santana's two-run homer and Roberto Perez's solo shot.
“I told him after the game, he grew up a lot today,” Girardi said.
Tommy Kahnle relieved a wild Dellin Betances in the eighth and got six-straight outs—five on strikeouts—for his first save of the season as New York improved to 3-0 when facing playoff elimination this year.
“There's a lot of confidence in that room,” Girardi said.
Over in the NL, the L.A. Dodgers beat Arizona 3-1 to sweep their best-of-five NLDS.
Meanwhile, Chicago edged Washington 2-1 to lead their NLDS 2-1, with Game 4 set for today at Wrigley Field.