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At this point baseball fans shouldn’t really be amazed by anything the Cleveland Indians do. Not after their magical run to the World Series last season. Not after their 22-game winning streak this year.
But here we are, two games into the Indians’ American League Division Series against the New York Yankees and the Indians have twice proven themselves amazing.
In Game 2, the Indians pulled off a dramatic comeback to overcome a disastrous start by ace Corey Kluber. It took 13 innings, two clutch homers and a dazzling extra-innings pick-off, but the Indians ultimately won 9-8 to take a 2-0 series lead and complete the biggest postseason comeback in franchise history.
Francisco Lindor hit a sixth-inning grand slam to turn a 8-3 game into a 8-7 nail-biter. Then Jay Bruce hit a solo dinger in the eighth to make it 8-8. And the final blow came when Yan Gomes singled home Austin Jackson.
This was not without controversy. In the 11th, the Yankees got a leadoff single by Todd Frazier, who advanced to second on an error. Pinch runner Ronald Torreyes took Frazier’s place, but was picked off second on a laser throw from Yan Gomes and a swift tag from Lindor. Torreyes was called safe on the field, but was ruled out after a replay review. Instead of a runner at second with nobody out, the Yankees had to start all over.
In the sixth, before Lindor’s homer, Yankees reliever Chad Green hit Lonnie Chisenhall with a pitch to load the bases. Or did he? Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez seemed to think it hit the knob of Chisenhall’s bat. The Yankees, however, opted not to challenge the ruling on the field and the Indians took full advantage of that decision.
All of a sudden, a game that was seemingly out of hand looked very competitive again.
The Yankees jumped on the Indians early, chasing Kluber from the game in the third inning. He gave up six runs in two and two-thirds innings, a rarity for the man who will probably win the AL Cy Young. For comparison, Kluber gave up seven runs in the entire 2016 postseason and only gave up six runs in a game once this season.
The Yankees got a two-run homer by Sanchez in the first inning, then a three-run homer from Aaron Hicks in the third, the blow that sent Kluber to the showers. When Greg Bird hit another two-run homer in the fifth, it seemed like a sure thing that the Yankees would be bringing this series back to the Bronx tied at one. But then came that wild sixth inning.
All this happened a day after Indians manager Terry Francona proved himself a postseason genius again. His decision to start Trevor Bauer in Game 1 was second-guessed by many, but Bauer pitched masterfully, no-hitting the Yankees into the sixth inning as the Indians won 4-0 to take the series lead. Now the Indians head to Yankee Stadium for Game 3 on Sunday needing one more win to advance to the ALCS.
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