Emmanuel Clase imploded in the ninth inning, allowing the New York Yankees to erase a one-run deficit and rally for a walk-off win over the Cleveland Guardians, but the most embarrassing display came courtesy of the fans at Yankees Stadium.
With two outs and a runner on second in the ninth inning, Isiah Kiner-Falefa launched an RBI double to the wall in left field to tie the ballgame. Steven Kwan crashed into the wall trying to make the catch and was checked out by a trainer before staying in the game. Shortly after, Yankees fans began taunting Kwan from the stands, prompting Myles Straw and Oscar Mercado to come to his defense. Straw even climbed to the top of the fence and exchanged words with the hecklers.
Moments before the final scene in the outfield in the bottom of the ninth, Myles Straw went right back at fans at Yankee Stadium. pic.twitter.com/wegiKxjtIF— Bally Sports Cleveland (@BallySportsCLE) April 23, 2022
The next at-bat, pinch-hitter Gleyber Torres lined an RBI single to the gap in right-center field to plate the go-ahead run for the Yankees. Fans proceeded to celebrate by throwing cans and bottles on the field in the direction of Mercado, who was understandably incensed by their behavior. Mercado’s teammates rushed out to right field to get him clear of the ugly scene. To their credit, Anthony Rizzo came to check on Mercado, and Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton walked out to right field to urge the fans to stop. But by then, the field was littered with trash.
Fans at Yankee Stadium throw things at Guardians players after the game ends. pic.twitter.com/1LIv66LfBW— Bally Sports Cleveland (@BallySportsCLE) April 23, 2022
Hopefully the Yankees organization will identify the fans involved and ban them from Yankees Stadium, because there can be zero tolerance for that kind of behavior.
As for the game that occurred prior to the Yankees fans’ embarrassing display, it was a back and forth affair. Josh Naylor became the first player this season to homer off of Yankees starting pitcher Nestor Cortes, who came into the game with a 0.00 ERA after his first two starts. Naylor’s two-run bomb in the fifth inning gave the Guardians a 2-0 lead, but unfortunately it did not last long.
Cleveland starter Cal Quantrill, fresh off the COVID IL, had held New York scoreless for four innings before he came undone with one out in the bottom of the fifth. He issued a one-out walk to Aaron Hicks, followed by a Joey Gallo single. Kiner-Falefa got the Yankees onboard with an RBI single, before Kyle Higashioka popped a sac fly to center field that the Guardians were able to convert into a double play but not before Gallo scored from third.
New York took a 3-2 lead on a Josh Donaldson solo homer in the seventh inning, but Austin Hedges did his best to be the hero in the top of the eighth, launching a two-run homer into the stands in left field off Yankees reliever Chad Green to give the Guardians a 4-3 lead.
Guardians fans everywhere girded their loins in the bottom of the eighth inning, when manager Terry Francona called in Bryan Shaw from the bullpen to face the top of the order with Cleveland clinging to a one-run lead. He gave up a leadoff single to D.J. LeMahieu before recording two outs on a 105.6 mph lineout to second base by Aaron Judge and a 103.4 mph flyout to the wall in left field by Anthony Rizzo. Nick Sandlin took over after that and struck out Giancarlo Stanton.
But it was Clase who couldn’t get it done. His leadoff walk to Donaldson in the ninth inning proved a fatal error, as that run came around to score and tie the game on Kiner-Falefa’s RBI double.