Andujar’s Blooper Gives Yankees a Walk-off Win; Yankees 7, Indians 6
Bob Toth | On 04, May 2018
Rookie Miguel Andujar’s bloop single in front of Tyler Naquin in right scored Giancarlo Stanton with the winning run in the bottom of the ninth, giving the New York Yankees a 7-6 win over the Cleveland Indians on Friday night from Yankee Stadium.
The Indians, playing in a long stretch of baseball, fell behind five runs with another tough start from Josh Tomlin, but the never-say-die club fought back with five runs in the eighth inning and one more in the ninth. But a shaky return to the Majors by Alexi Ogando, whose contract was purchased from Triple-A Columbus earlier in the day, put the Indians in a precarious position and Cody Allen could not prevent the white hot Bronx Bombers from sneaking away with a walk-off victory.
CC Sabathia started for the Yankees and pitched one of his best games of the season, working six scoreless innings with seven strikeouts to drop his season ERA to 1.39. His counterpart, Tomlin, was victimized by three home runs, but he did prevent things from getting worse, saving the bullpen while allowing his offense a chance to fight back in what was at one point a lopsided contest.
The game was scoreless through three and a half innings. The Yankees threatened in the first, getting a one-out double from Aaron Judge, but the reigning Rookie of the Year was erased on a fielder’s choice at third. Stanton walked to put two on, but Tomlin struck out Gary Sanchez swinging.
Judge stepped up in a huge situation in the second, but could not deliver. Neil Walker singled with one out and Andujar moved him to second with his own single. After Gleyber Torres flied out, Tomlin hit Brett Gardner with an 0-2 pitch to load the bases, but Judge flied to center to leave the bases full.
The Indians had their first scoring opportunity in the fourth. Jose Ramirez got the team’s second hit of the night, a one-out double to left, but he was caught stealing with Edwin Encarnacion at the plate. He struck out looking to end the inning.
The Yankees got to Tomlin in the fourth after several missed opportunities. Walker singled to right and moved to second safely on an error by Francisco Lindor on a potential double play grounder by Andujar. Torres delivered the first runs of the night with a three-run home run, his first in the Majors, to put the Yankees up 3-0. After Tomlin retired Gardner, Judge then ended his home run drought, driving a pitch over the wall in left to give the Yankees a 4-0 lead. Sanchez would make it a five-run advantage with his leadoff homer in the fifth.
The Indians got their third base runner of the game in the sixth against Sabathia with a two-out double from Lindor, but Jason Kipnis popped out to short to leave a runner in scoring position. They would strand a leadoff single from Ramirez in the seventh against Dellin Betances.
The Tribe delivered another gigantic inning in the eighth against the Yankees bullpen to change the course of the game. Yan Gomes walked against Chasen Shreve and moved up 90 feet on a single by Rajai Davis. Bradley Zimmer jumped a slider over the heart of the plate and drove it just to the left of the bullpen in right-center for a three-run shot to make it a 5-3 game. After Lindor singled to left, David Robertson came on, but he could not stop the scoring. He erased Lindor on a force at second on the shifted infield, with shortstop Didi Gregorius banged up on the play after getting kicked in the head by his counterpart. Ramirez locked in for an eight-pitch battle with Robertson and came away the victor, blasting a game-tying, two-run home run to the bullpen, making it a brand new ball game.
Ogando came in for Tomlin in the eighth to make his Indians debut and his first big league appearance since 2016. He struck out Aaron Hicks before walking Walker. Andujar grounded into a fielder’s choice for the second out, but Torres followed with a single and Gardner walked to load the bases. Judge stepped in again with the ducks on the pond and delivered in unconventional fashion, walking on six pitches to force home the go-ahead run before Gregorius popped out to short. Despite three stranded, the Yankees had a 6-5 lead.
Aroldis Chapman entered for the save in the ninth, but created his own mess to force his teammates to return to the plate in the home half. Gomes led off with a single to left. Davis struck out swinging on three straight, but Zimmer followed with a painful hit by pitch. With Lindor at the plate, Chapman uncorked a wild pitch that bounced halfway up the third base line on the rebound that moved both runners up. Lindor struck out for the second out, but with Kipnis up and behind in the count, 0-2, Chapman missed up and in with another heater that went off of the home plate umpire, scoring Gomes from third with the tying run. Kipnis would strike out, but the game was now tied at six.
Ogando came back out for a second inning, looking to save a heavily used bullpen with no fresh arms. He gave up a leadoff double to Stanton and was removed for Allen, who got Sanchez to fly to right and Hicks to ground out to first for the first two outs. Walker drew another walk to put runners on the corners and Walker moved up to second on indifference, but Andujar delivered a knuckle curve into shallow right for the game winner.
The Yankees (22-10) have now won 13 of their last 14 games. The Indians (17-15) drop back below the .500 mark on the road with a 6-7 record.
TOMLIN STRUGGLES WITH LONG BALL
While Tomlin added to his MLB-leading total for home runs surrendered this season (now up to 13), he also saved his bullpen teammates from enduring extra use.
“The options are limited. It’s a little frustrating,” said manager Terry Francona about his pitching options for the night. “The idea was to let Ogando pitch for a while. I just felt like with that leadoff double and with the effort our guys had given, [Allen] gave us our best chance to keep that going.”
Tomlin went seven innings in what could be his last start for a while with off days scheduled. He was charged with five runs (four earned) on eight hits with a pair of walks and four strikeouts on the night. He threw 102 pitches, including 69 for strikes, and was ahead with first pitch strikes to 22 of the 32 batters that he faced.
SABATHIA SUPERB AGAIN
Sabathia has stepped up big against the Indians in recent playoff memory, but he remains winless against his former club since 2013. It was not in part to his effort on Friday, as he threw six shutout innings, allowing just three hits while striking out seven. The normally reliable bullpen behind him, however, allowed six runs on seven hits with a walk, two wild pitches, a hit batter, and five strikeouts.
Chapman “earned” the win, but more realistically earned his first blown save of the season. Robertson was also charged with a blown save, his second, the inning before.
The following are the questions and answers to this afternoon’s Tribe Trivia.
This Hall of Famer and former MVP was a nine-time All-Star, including six times with the New York Yankees and three times with the Cleveland Indians. He was the MVP of the 1942 season and appeared in his fifth and final World Series with the Indians in 1948. The second baseman took over a decade later as the Indians’ manager and was infamously traded to Detroit by Frank “Trader” Lane.
Who am I? Joe Gordon
The Indians traded this left-handed hitting outfielder to the Yankees in 2000 for a three-player haul. Cleveland received outfielder Ricky Ledee and pitchers Zach Day and Jake Westbrook. This slugger previously spent time in Atlanta and later in Oakland after his days in the Bronx ended.
Who am I? David Justice
This former Indians and Yankees soft-tosser is the last player to lose 20 games in the National League (with Atlanta in 1979). Incidentally, he accomplished the same feat two seasons earlier for the Braves as well. Despite two significant losing seasons, he would still become a Hall of Famer. He was an All-Star for the last time at the age of 45 with the Yankees in 1984.
Who am I? Phil Niekro
It will be a rare early start for the Tribe on Saturday, as the Yankees host them in game two of the three-game series in a 1:05 PM ET start. Right-handers Trevor Bauer (2-2, 2.45 ERA) and Sonny Gray (1-2, 6.67) are the pitching probables.
Bauer handled the Yankees with ease during the regular season a year ago. He faced them twice and won both outings, striking out eleven batters in 13 innings while giving up eleven hits. He is coming off of a season-high eleven strikeouts in a no-decision against the Texas Rangers on Monday night. Gray went 1-2 against Cleveland a year ago in three starts, posting a 4.86 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP in 16 2/3 innings of work. He took the loss in his last outing despite making his best start of the season, allowing two runs on four hits in six innings against the Houston Astros.
Photo: Elsa/Getty Images