New York Post


Yanks produce just three hits as Indians dominate Game 1


CLEVELAND — Brett Gardner didn’t dance around the topic in a very quiet Yankees clubhouse late Thursday evening.

“I thought tonight was a must win game and it didn’t go our way. [Friday] is a must-win game and we have to play well,’’ Gardner said.

Even if CC Sabathia delivers a better performanc­e than Sonny Gray did in a 4-0 loss to the Indians in Game 1 of the ALDS in front of 37,612 might not be enough against Tribe ace and AL Cy Young favorite Corey Kluber.

The Indians took a 1-0 lead in the bestof-five series thanks to a masterpiec­e of a pitching performanc­e by Trevor Bauer.

Indians manager Terry Francona absorbed a grown-up dose of secondgues­sing when he named Bauer the Game 1 starter over Kluber. Then Francona took a seat in a rocking chair as Bauer dominated the Yankees.

“His curveball was really good tonight, as good as we have seen it,’’ Joe Girardi said of Bauer, who went 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA in two regular-season starts against the Yankees. “We didn’t get too many free base runners, which we have in the past off him. He was really good.’’

Through 5 2/3 innings, Bauer held the Yankees hitless until Aaron Hicks’ twoout double in the sixth. Bauer walked Greg Bird in the second and allowed Aaron Judge to reach first on a wild pitch on a third strike in the fourth. In 6 2/3 innings, Bauer gave up two hits, a walk and fanned eight.

Gray’s control issues contribute­d to him being gone after 3 ¹/3 innings in which he allowed three runs, three hits, walked four and hit a batter.

Trailing 4-0 in the eighth thanks to Jay Bruce’s two-run homer off Gray in the fourth and sacrifice fly in the fifth, the Yankees threatened against former teammate Andrew Miller in the eighth.

Chase Headley walked with one out and Gardner did the same with two gone. But Cody Allen relieved Miller and fanned Judge to end it and hang a fourth “K’’ on Judge, playing in his first postseason series.

More than one Yankee gave plate umpire Vic Carapazza a funny look after being called out on strikes. However, they didn’t believe that helped Bauer, who was getting the high strike from Carapazza.

“I don’t think that was the story of the game and I certainly don’t want that to be the focus because [Bauer] did a good job,’’ said Headley, who reacted to Carapazza calling him out on strikes leading off the sixth. “It’s not like the pitches guys disagreed with were a foot off the plate.’’

The Baby Bomber trio of Judge, Bird and Gary Sanchez didn’t enjoy their postseason series baptism. They went a combined 0-for-11 and struck out seven times.

As the Yankees moved out of the clubhouse they talked about the comfort level they have with Sabathia on the mound Friday in Game 2. And they should because the veteran left-hander tied for the team wins with 14 and has been through the October pressure enough where it shouldn’t pierce his thick skin.

Still, it’s Kluber throwing to the Yankee hitters that is the biggest concern.

“Three hits are not going to do it,’’ Todd Frazier said. “There is no chance you are going to win that game.’’

Frazier was talking about Game 1, but if Kluber is as good as Bauer the Yankees will be in a deep ditch with very little hope of escaping.

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