Indians fall to 57-65
Some poor pitching early on, together with a lackluster day in the field, cost the Tribe this afternoon. They actually got off to a tremendous start with a Francisco Lindor line drive over the RF wall on a 2-0 count. However, this proved to be a false dawn. After a Jacob Ellsbury leadoff single, Brett Gardner homered "weakly" to RF to put the Yankees ahead 2-1, and Brian McCann then blasted one over right center field for add to their lead. Ultimately, it took Danny Salazar 33 pitches just to get through the first inning.
Things didn't improve much for Salazar in the second, when after Stephen Drew and John Ryan Murphy singled, the Indians pitcher lobbed one to CF on a tailor-made double play, with Drew scoring in the process. The Yankees then made it 5-1 with a Carlos Beltran sac fly before Salazar finally manged to mow down McCann for his first strikeout to end the inning.
The game took a bizarre turn in the 3rd. After a one-out walk by Jason Kipnis, Lindor got him to 3rd with a single to RF. Michael Brantley then hit a groundball into a force play, but 1B Greg Bird's throw took Didi Gregorius off the bag and when Gregorius threw it straight back to 1B the umpires ruled it as a neighborhood play. Given that Lindor was nowhere in the neighborhood of 2nd base this call naturally brought Tito out of the dugout, and he would eventually be expelled. While the Yankees were trying to run the double play, Kipnis could easily have scored, but he seemed to freeze, and when Santana then struck out a golden run-scoring opportunity had been wasted.
By this point Salazar seemed to have settled down. Although he was "debited" with a double in the 3rd after a bad mistake in LF by Mike Aviles, he pitched very well in that inning, while in the 4th he struck out the side swinging and in the 5th he added his sixth strikeout. However, he was then pulled from the game after exactly 100 pitches when he allowed a two-out single. At least Salazar did a decent job protecting the bullpen after those two disastrous innings to start the game. He could easily have imploded after his catastrophic fielding error.
Austin Adams then had one of his more impressive outings for the Tribe, making a fine fielding play to end the 5th and then touching 99 MPH as he went 1-2-3 with one strikeout in the 6th. Ryan Webb did give up a couple of singles in the 7th as the Yankees worked around the shift, but he managed to survive with the help of a couple of strikeouts.
Meanwhile, the offense was spluttering. A leadoff single in the 4th by Lonnie Chisenhall came to nought, and they then went 1-2-3 in the 5th. Severino did seem to tire with two outs in the 6th, allowing walks to both Lonnie Chisenhall and Abraham Almonte, and only a great play by SS Gregorius on a hard-hit ball by Roberto Perez enabled him to get out of the inning. But then Adam Warren made fast work of the Tribe in a 1-2-3 7th that included two strikeouts.
The Tribe did finally pull one run back when Francisco Lindor hustled for a double to lead off the 8th (his third hit of the day) and, following a Santana double that got him to 3rd, Chisenhall drove him home. However, the Yankees came right back with a run off Jeff Manship to restore a four-run lead and the Tribe was done.
So it's on to the finale tomorrow, with Trevor Bauer and C.C. Sabathia on the mound and the Tribe holding a 2-1 lead in the series.
Win Expectancy Chart
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