Yan­kees elim­i­nate In­di­ans while Na­tion­als stay alive

Business World - - WORLD SPORTS -

CHICAGO — Didi Gre­go­rius smacked two home runs and the New York Yan­kees ad­vanced in the Ma­jor League Base­ball play­offs Wed­nes­day by de­feat­ing Cleve­land 5-2 while Washington kept its ti­tle hopes alive fac­ing elim­i­na­tion as well.

After los­ing the first two games, the Yan­kees ral­lied to de­feat the In­di­ans 3-2 in the best-of-five Amer­i­can League Di­vi­sion Se­ries.

Gre­go­rius smacked a solo homer in the first in­ning and a two-run homer in the third to give the Yan­kees a 3-0 lead. And after the In­di­ans trimmed the mar­gin to a sin­gle run, Brett Gard­ner added a two-run sin­gle in the ninth in­ning to pro­duce the fi­nal mar­gin.

“Didi is the one that set the tone,” said Gard­ner. “Didi had two big homers for us. Huge win.”

The vic­tory lifted New York into the best-of-seven Amer­i­can League Cham­pi­onship Se­ries against the Hous­ton Astros that opens Fri­day in Texas. Hous­ton went 5-2 dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son against the Yan­kees.

In the Na­tional League, Washington’s Michael A. Tay­lor smashed a grand slam in the eighth in­ning to power the Na­tion­als over the de­fend­ing World Se­ries cham­pion Chicago Cubs 5-0, lev­el­ing the best-of-five Na­tional League Di­vi­sion Se­ries at 2-2.

The vic­tory set up a win­ner-take-all fifth game Thurs­day at Washington, with the vic­tor ad­vanc­ing to the Na­tional League Cham­pi­onship Se­ries against the Los An­ge­les Dodgers. That best-of-seven show­down be­gins Satur­day in Cal­i­for­nia.

Na­tion­als right-handed pitcher Stephen Stras­burg, who had been the fo­cus of a pregame drama about whether he would take the mound for the big­gest game of his ca­reer, col­lected his first play­off tri­umph de­spite bat­tling fever and chills a day ear­lier.

Stras­burg struck out 12 and sur­ren­dered only three hits with two walks over seven shutout in­nings. He kept the Cubs hit­less for the first 5 2/3 in­nings.

“I’m sur­prised I was able to hang in there,” Stras­burg said. “I think it’s just one of those sit­u­a­tions where you try and break the game down, keep it sim­ple and just know go­ing in, what­ever I have in the tank, I’m giv­ing it ev­ery­thing I have.”

At Cleve­land, Gre­go­rius launched the Yan­kees to the early lead, but the In­di­ans an­swered in the fourth as Austin Jack­son sin­gled, ad­vanced on a Jay Bruce sin­gle and scored on a Roberto Perez sin­gle.

Gio­vanny Ur­shela sin­gled in Bruce to pull Cleve­land within 3-2 and the Yan­kees re­moved win­ning pitcher C.C. Sa­bathia for re­liever David Robert­son, who halted the threat by in­duc­ing an in­ning-end­ing dou­ble play.

Gard­ner smacked a two-run sin­gle to right field on the 12th pitch he saw in the ninth in­ning to add in­surance runs for the Yan­kees and clos­ing re­liever Aroldis Chap­man got the fi­nal six outs for New York to earn the save.

STRAS­BURG THE REAL DEAL

At Chicago, Tay­lor’s first ca­reer play­off homer was the first play­off grand slam in Na­tion­als his­tory.

“Just look­ing for a good pitch to hit, some­thing out over ( the plate),” Tay­lor said. “Just try­ing to put the bat on the ball and make some­thing hap­pen.”

Washington took a 1-0 lead in the third in­ning when Trea Turner dou­bled to left field, took third on a wild pitch and scored on a field­ing er­ror by Cubs short­stop Ad­di­son Rus­sell off a ball hit by Ryan Zim­mer­man.

But in the eighth, Daniel Mur­phy sin­gled while An­thony Ren­don and Matt Wi­eters walked, set­ting the stage for Tay­lor’s homer over the right- cen­ter­field wall.

Tay­lor paid tribute to Stras­burg’s ef­fort after orig­i­nally plan­ning to sit out due to ill­ness and let Tan­ner Roark make the start.

“To come out after be­ing sick like that and put to­gether a game like that, it’s amaz­ing,” Tay­lor said. “He’s the real deal.” —

AROLDIS CHAP­MAN of the New York Yan­kees cel­e­brates with team­mates after their 5-2 win over the Cleve­land In­di­ans in Game Five of the Amer­i­can League Divi­sional Se­ries at Pro­gres­sive Field on Oct. 11 in Cleve­land, Ohio.

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