Yankees win Game 5, ALDS behind two Didi Gregorius home runs
Yankees will begin ALCS in Houston Friday night.
For the second time in this American League Division Series, the New York Yankees knocked Cleveland Indians ace and likely AL Cy Young Award winner, Corey Kluber out of the game early. Didi Gregorius did the damage this time.
The Yankees shortstop got New York on the board early with a solo home run off Kluber in the first inning. In the third, Gregorius struck again, this time a two-run shot and the Yankees had a quick 3-0 lead in Game 5.
C.C. Sabbath did the rest early on, dominating the Indians lineup for four-plus innings. The veteran left-hander had the Cleveland lineup off balance and was cruising. Sabathia was perfect through the first four innings before running into trouble in the fifth. The Indians would score two runs in the fifth and had two more runners on base.
With a well rested bullpen, Yankees manager Joe Girardi called upon David Robertson to get out of a two-on, out-out jam. Robertson was able to force a double-play to end the inning and any further threat.
The game remained tight as Robertson matched zero’s with the Cleveland bullpen. That was until the top of the ninth.
Left fielder Brett Gardner drilled an RBI single to right field, scoring Aaron Hicks. The return throw from Indians right fielder Jay Bruce got away from Francisco Lindor and Todd Frazier hustled in to score another insurance run, giving the Yankees a 5-2 lead.
Aroldis Chapman entered the game in the eighth for the Yankees and pitched a clean frame, including two strikeouts. Having sat on the bench for over a half-hour while the Yankees batted in the top half, there was some concern how the closer would perform in the ninth.
After a leadoff walk to Jose Ramirez, Chapman caught Edwin Encarnacion looking for the first out. He then forced Carlos Santana into a fielder’s choice. Chapman struck out Austin Jackson to earn the six-out save and the Yankees advance to the American League Championship Series.
The Yankees have won four elimination games, including the Wild Card win over Minnesota and three straight in the ALDS after losing the first two games. It was a wild series, full of drama and many unexpected circumstances.
Unofficial ALDS MVP
There is no official MVP award handed out for the Division Series, but the Yankees certainly had a couple players worthy of such an honor.
- Didi Gregorius – The Yankees shortstop has continued to make his own legacy as the position all season. Gregorius delivered clutch home runs in Game 5, two drives off Corey Kluber.
- David Robertson – Yes, you can argue the pitching MVP was Sabathia who pitched two great games, albeit short outings. You can also make a case for Masahiro Tanaka and Luis Severino who pitched fantastic games to even up the series. However, David Robertson has been nothing short of clutch. Robertson entered Game 5 and immediately shut down an Indians rally in the fifth inning. He pitched threw the seventh, keeping Cleveland off the scoreboard any further, before handing the ball to Chapman to close it out.
For the first time since 2012, the Yankees are headed to the American League Championship Series. They head to Houston to battle the Astros. Game 1 is scheduled for Friday night. The Yankees are 2-5 against the Astros this season.