Get ready for Yankees-Rays in the ALDS.
The Yankees earned their way into the best-of-five affair against their AL East rivals by outslugging the Indians on the way to an exhausting 10-9 victory in Game 2 of the AL Wild Card Series on Wednesday night at Cleveland’s Progressive Field.
After flushing a pair of two-run leads, the Yankees staged a two-run rally in the ninth against Indians closer Brad Hand that erased a one-run deficit.
Giancarlo Stanton drew a leadoff walk in the ninth and Gio Urshela followed with a soft single to center field. That advanced pinch-runner Mike Tauchman to second. Gleyber Torres reached on a chopper behind the mound that Hand didn’t handle.
With the bases loaded and no outs, Brett Gardner struck out on a 3-2 pitch. That brought Gary Sanchez to the plate. His fly to center scored Tauchman and tied the score, 9-9. DJ LeMahieu then hit a 0-2 pitch through the middle of the infield for a single that plated Urshela and put the Yankees ahead, 10-9.
Aroldis Chapman, who entered the game in the eighth, recorded the final three outs.
Urshela hit a grand slam, Sanchez delivered a two-run homer and Stanton homered for the second straight game to help the Yankees climb out of a 4-0 ditch Masahiro Tanaka lowered them into in the first inning.
The Yankees and Rays, who have been chirping at each other for several seasons and have a genuine dislike for each other, will open the best-of-five ALDS Monday in San Diego. The Yankees struggled with the AL East champion Rays this season against whom they dropped eight of 10 tilts.
The Rays advanced to face the Yankees by beating the Blue Jays two straight.
The Indians erased a 6-4 lead in the fifth and an 8-6 deficit in the seventh and jumped ahead in the eighth when Jonathan Loaisiga walked the first two batters and Chapman gave up a bloop single to Cesar Hernandez that scored Delino DeShields for a 9-8 lead.
Urshela turning a sure base hit into a 5-4-3 double play in the eighth to give the Yankees a chance in the ninth that they cashed in on.
Neither starter delivered anything close to a solid outing.
Tanaka gave up six runs and five hits in four innings and Carlos Carrasco surrendered four runs and two hits in three frames.
Leading, 8-6, entering the home sixth, Chad Green gave up two singles and was replaced by Zack Britton with one out and runners on first and second. Britton went to a full count on Francisco Lindor and fed him an inning ending 5-4-3 double play to keep the lead intact.
Britton walked two with two outs in the seventh, and when Indians manager Sandy Alomar Jr. used the right-handed hitting Jordan Luplow to hit for the smoking-hot Josh Naylor, a lefty swinger, Aaron Boone countered with right-hander Jonathan Loaisiga, not Adam Ottavino. Luplow hit a 1-2 breaking ball for a two-run double that scored two and tied the score, 8-8. Loaisiga hit Roberto Perez with a pitch but stranded two by getting Tyler Naquin on a grounder to the right side.
Scheduled to start at 7:08 p.m. but delayed until 7:51 due to what had to be expected rain that never fell, the first inning was a headache on several levels for the Yankees.
With one out and the Indians leading, 1-0, on back-to-back doubles from Hernandez and Jose Ramirez, play was stopped due to high winds and heavy rain.
After a 33-minute delay, Tanaka retired Carlos Santana but walked Franmil Reyes and gave up an RBI double to Naylor, and he scored on Perez’s single for a 4-0 lead. It was Naylor’s fifth hit in five series at-bats after he went 4-for-4 with a homer in Game 1.
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