Gre­go­rius goes deep twice — N.Y. heads to Hous­ton

San Francisco Chronicle - - PAGE 2 - By Tom Withers Tom Withers is an As­so­ci­ated Press writer.

CLEVE­LAND — Didi Gre­go­rius, fol­low­ing in the Oc­to­ber foot­prints left by Derek Jeter, home­red twice off Corey Klu­ber as the Yan­kees beat the In­di­ans 5-2 in Game 5 on Wed­nes­day night to com­plete a come­back from a 2-0 deficit in the Di­vi­sion Se­ries and de­throne the AL cham­pi­ons.

The Yan­kees won their fourth elim­i­na­tion game this post­sea­son and ad­vanced to play the Astros in the AL Cham­pi­onship Se­ries start­ing Fri­day night in Hous­ton. The Yan­kees went 2-5 against the AL West cham­pion Astros, who are led by 5-foot-6 MVP can­di­date Jose Al­tuve.

On Wed­nes­day, the Yan­kees rocked Cleve­land and bailed out man­ager Joe Gi­rardi, who failed to chal­lenge a key call in a Game 2 loss that threat­ened to sab­o­tage New York’s sea­son.

“Th­ese guys had my back and they fought and fought,” Gi­rardi said. “They beat a re­ally good team. What those guys did for me, I’ll never for­get it.”

Af­ter win­ning twice at home, and af­ter Gi­rardi said he “screwed up” and felt hor­ri­ble about it, the Yan­kees came into Pro­gres­sive Field and fin­ished off the In­di­ans, who won 102 games dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son, ripped off a his­toric 22game win­ning streak and were fa­vored to get back to the World Se­ries af­ter los­ing in seven games a year ago to the Chicago Cubs.

Cleve­land hasn’t won a World Se­ries since 1948 — baseball’s long­est dry spell.

“No­body wanted the sea­son to be over,” Cleve­land man­ager Terry Fran­cona said. “It doesn’t wind down, it comes to a crash­ing halt. It’s dis­ap­point­ing. We felt good about our­selves. We made it harder to win, es­pe­cially in the last two games.”

The In­di­ans cut their deficit to 3-2 in the fifth against starter CC Sa­bathia be­fore David Robert­son pitched 22⁄3 hit­less in­nings for the win. Closer Aroldis Chap­man worked two in­nings for the save.

Chap­man went to the mound with a three-run lead in the ninth af­ter Brett Gard­ner beat Cody Allen in a 12-pitch at-bat. Gard­ner de­liv­ered an RBI sin­gle, with New York’s fifth run scor­ing when Todd Fra­zier raced home on right fielder Jay Bruce’s throw­ing er­ror.

When Austin Jack­son was called out on strikes to end it, the Yan­kees rushed to the mound to cel­e­brate with Chap­man. Gi­rardi hugged his coaches.

The Yan­kees be­came the 10th team to over­come a 2-0 deficit to win a best-of-five play­off se­ries. New York also did it in 2001, ral­ly­ing to beat the A’s— a se­ries re­mem­bered for Jeter’s back­hand flip to home plate in Game 3.

Gre­go­rius, who took the short­stop job fol­low­ing Jeter’s retirement af­ter the 2014 sea­son, hit a solo homer in the first off Klu­ber and added a two-run shot in the third off the Cleve­land right-han­der, a fa­vorite for the Cy Young Award.

Gre­gory Shamus / Getty Im­ages

Aroldis Chap­man (fac­ing) and the Yan­kees ex­ult af­ter elim­i­nat­ing Cleve­land from the post­sea­son. Chap­man pitched two hit­less in­nings to pick up his sec­ond save in the ALDS.

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