New York vs. Houston
What: Game 1
When: 8 p.m. Friday
Where: Minute Maid Park, Houston
CLEVELAND – Didi Gregorius, following in the October footprints left by Derek Jeter, homered twice off Corey Kluber as the New York Yankees beat the Cleveland Indians 5-2 in Game 5 on Wednesday night to complete their comeback from a 2-0 deficit in the American League Division Series and dethrone the AL champions.
These bend-but-don't-break Yankees staved off elimination for the fourth time in this postseason and advanced to play the Houston Astros in the AL Championship Series starting Friday in Houston.
The AL West champion Astros, led by 5-foot-6 second-base dynamo and MVP candidate Jose Altuve, went 5-2 against the wild-card winners this season.
After winning twice in New York, the Yankees – with little offensive help from rookie star Aaron Judge – came into Progressive Field and finished off the Indians, who won 102 games during the regular season, ripped off a historic 22-game streak and were favored to get back to the World Series after losing in seven games a year ago to the Chicago Cubs.
Cleveland's Series drought turns 70 next year – baseball's longest dry spell.
The Indians closed to 3-2 in the fifth against starter CC Sabathia before David Robertson pitched 22/3 hitless innings for the win. Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman, who faced Cleveland in last year's spine-tingling World Series and signed an $86 million free agent contract in December, worked two innings for the save.
Chapman went to the mound with a three-run lead in the ninth after Brett Gardner battled Cody Allen for 12 pitches before hitting an RBI single, with New York's fifth run scoring when Todd Frazier raced home on right fielder Jay Bruce's throwing error.
Gardner's gritty at-bat was symbolic of these Yankees. They wouldn't give in.
When Austin Jackson was called out on strikes to end it, the Yankees rushed to the mound to celebrate with Chapman.
These baby Bronx Bombers became the 10th team to overcome a 2-0 deficit to win a best-of-five playoff series.