Yankees Takeaways from Tuesday's 12-3 AL Wild Card Game 1 win over Indians, including Gleyber Torres coming alive

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·4 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Aaron Judge celebrates with Aaron Hicks after home run against Indians
Aaron Judge celebrates with Aaron Hicks after home run against Indians

Game 1 of the AL Wild Card matchup Tuesday at Progressive Field in Cleveland saw the Yankees get off to a strong start and not let up. The Yankees came alive on offense, played clean defense and got a prototypical ace performance in a 12-3 win over the Indians. >> Box score

Eight things to know from Tuesday's game

1. Against the likely AL Cy Young Award winner in RHP Shane Bieber, who went 8-1 with a 1.63 ERA through 12 starts spanning 77 1/2 innings, the Yankees delivered a season-worst outing for Bieber.

Allowing more than three runs for the first time in 2020, Bieber got off to a poor first-inning start and never fully recovered. Throwing 105 pitches (62 strikes) in just 4 2/3 innings, Bieber surrendered seven runs (all earned) on eight hits (two home runs), striking out seven while walking two.

2. To get the Yankees going, 2B DJ LeMahieu led off with a line-drive single to right after Bieber fell behind 2-0. On the very next pitch, RF Aaron Judge crushed a two-run homer to right-center field, serving a punch in the face as the Yankees took a 2-0 lead.

3. Bieber retired eight of his next nine batters, but he issued a two-out walk to CF Aaron Hicks in the third inning and the Yankees scratched a run across. 1B Luke Voit doubled on a line drive to left-center field, and Hicks scored came around from first, beating out a throw and building the Yankees' 3-0 lead.

4. The Yankees kept at Bieber with a two-run fourth inning, cashing in on a one-out walk to SS Gleyber Torres. Up next, LF Brett Gardner -- getting the start over Clint Frazier -- lofted a double on a fly ball to deep left-center field that scored Torres from first. Consecutive singles by C Kyle Higashioka (ground ball to short) and LeMahieu -- an infield hit up the middle that he legged out on his way to first -- scored Gardner and put the Yankees in command of a 5-1 lead.

5. Bieber seemed to settle in again, retiring the next four batters -- including a trio of strikeouts -- but could not close the door during a turbulent fifth inning. With two outs, 3B Gio Urshela singled up the middle. Torres then took a 2-2 pitch into the left-center seats, throwing a knockout punch to Bieber and putting the Yankees ahead 7-2.

6. For good measure, the Yankees busted out a blowout with a five-run seventh inning. Ushela's one-out sacrificed fly to right scored Hicks, tacking on a run for the Yankees' 8-2 lead. On the first pitch of the next at-bat, Torres singled to center and scored Voit. Gardner then cleared the center-field wall with a 1-1 homer that scored Torres, putting the Yankees up 11-2.

7. DH Giancarlo Stanton served up the Yankees' fourth and final home run with a one-out solo shot to left in the ninth inning, polishing off the Yankees' 12-2 cushion. He had been hitless with two strikeouts, so his fifth appearance could be a confidence-boosting one.

8. It flew somewhat under the radar because of a flipped switch by a resurgent offensive performance at the plate, but RHP Gerrit Cole gave the Yankees a needed ace outing. Cole pitched with an early lead and limited the damage later on, scattering two runs in the third and fourth innings.

3B Jose Ramirez's third-inning double with runners at the corners, in a two-out situation after a pair of singles, put the Indians on the board with a 3-1 score. Cole gave a up a long home run to right-center field by LF Josh Naylor, but it was a solo shot that only made the margin 5-2.

Cole cruised the rest of the way with a lengthy start, turning in a seven-inning effort and yielding six hits. He struck 13 out and walked none on 105 pitches (73 strikes). His strikeouts were the most by a Yankees pitcher's postseason debut and came close to a franchise record set by former RHP Roger Clemens, who fanned 15 in Game 4 of a 5-0 ALCS win over the Seattle Mariners on Oct. 14, 2000.

What's next

Playing a best-of-three series, the Yankees look to advance with Game 2, a 7 p.m. start Wednesday on ESPN at Progressive Field in Cleveland. Yankees RHP Masahiro Tanaka is set to face Indians RHP Carlos Carrasco.

On the 2020 regular season, Tanaka experienced his ups and downs. He went 3-3 with a 3.56 ERA, striking out 44 and walking eight in 48 innings over 10 starts.

In the postseason, though, Tanaka has been a proven commodity. Through eight starts spanning 46 innings, Tanaka is 5-3, sporting a 1.76 ERA with 37 strikeouts to 11 walks.