Yan Gomes singled home Austin Jackson from second base with none out in the 13th inning as the Cleveland Indians rallied from five runs down to stun the visiting New York Yankees 9-8 Friday and snatch a 2-0 lead in the AL Division Series.
Jackson drew a leadoff walk in the 13th from Dellin Betances and stole second. Gomes went to a full count before pulling his bouncer just inside the third-base bag, easily scoring Jackson. The Indians poured out of their dugout to mob Gomes, who ended the 5-hour, 8-minute thriller.
“We just were supposed to win,” said Indians outfielder Jay Bruce, who hit a game-tying homer in the eighth. “No words, honestly. I’m speechless.”
The Indians posted their biggest comeback win in postseason history, overcoming an 8-3 deficit, a terrible start by ace Corey Kluber and a potentially serious injury to slugger Edwin Encarnacion.
Francisco Lindor hit a grand slam in the sixth to rally Cleveland, right after a close call on a hit by pitch that the Yankees didn’t challenge.
New York had its chances late, but the Yankees stranded the go-ahead run at third in the ninth and 10th — and had pinch-runner Ronald Torreyes picked off second in the 11th by Gomes from the behind the plate.
Cleveland will try for a sweep in Game 3 Sunday at Yankee Stadium. Carlos Carrasco is set to start for the Indians against Masahiro Tanaka.
As they’ve done so many times in a season becoming more special by the day, the defending AL champions battled back and can now put the Yankees away in New York — just as they did in the 2007 ALDS.
Josh Tomlin, who had been scheduled to start later in the series, pitched two perfect innings for the win.
Aaron Hicks hit a three-run homer off Kluber and Gary Sanchez and Greg Bird hit two-run shots for the Yankees, who may have caught a bad break before Lindor’s homer.
New York’s Aaron Judge went 0 for 3 and is hitless in seven at-bats in the series with five strikeouts.
The Yankees lost consecutive games for the first time since they were swept at home in a three-game series by the Indians from Aug. 28-30. Now, they need to sweep three in a row from Cleveland.
Down 8-3, facing New York’s vaunted bullpen, the Indians came back.
New York starter C.C. Sabathia was lifted with one on and one out in the sixth for Chad Green, another one of the Yankees’ flame-throwers who got an out before Gomes doubled. Green came inside and Lonnie Chisenhall was awarded first by plate umpire Dan Iassogna on a hit by pitch. TV replays showed the ball slightly change direction — it appeared to hit the knob of Chisenhall’s bat.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said there wasn’t enough evidence within 30 seconds to justify a challenge. He said the team later saw a slow-motion replay suggesting he should’ve contested it.
Lindor then stepped in and hit a towering shot off the inside of the right-field foul pole to make it 8-7, triggering a seismic celebration.
As Lindor rounded the bases with Cleveland’s first postseason slam since Jim Thome in 1999, Progressive Field shook the way it did last November when Rajai Davis hit a two-run homer in eighth inning of Game 7 off Aroldis Chapman, then with the Cubs and now closing for the Yankees.
When Lindor reached the plate, he wrapped his arms around Jason Kipnis waiting in the batter’s box.
Bruce, who has done everything since coming over in an August trade, led off the eighth with his homer to left off reliever David Robertson, who pitched 31/3 scoreless innings and earned the win in the wild-card game against Minnesota.
Bruce ripped a 3-1 pitch into the left-field bleachers to tie it. When he reached second, Lindor was out of the dugout waving around his teammate as the Indians had caught the Yankees.
Five innings later, the Indians finally broke the tie. They matched the longest postseason game in Cleveland history — Tony Pena’s homer in the 13th beat Boston in Game 1 of the 1995 ALDS.
Kluber wasn’t himself. Not even close.
The right-hander, who led the AL in wins, ERA and intimidation, didn’t get out of the third inning as Francona pulled him after allowing Hicks’ three-run homer.
It was the shortest outing this season for Kluber, and as he slowly walked off the mound, Cleveland’s stunned crowd gave him a polite ovation and several teammates approached him to offer consolation.
This was a shocker to the Indians, who started Trevor Bauer in the opener so they could bring back Kluber in Game 2 and then use him again if the series goes five games. But after the way the Yankees roughed up their ace, Cleveland’s plans appear flawed.
The Indians tied it 2-2 in the first, but lost Encarnacion.
Sabathia gave up a two-out walk and hit Encarnacion on the right knee to load the bases before Carlos Santana followed with a two-run single.
Bruce followed with a liner up the middle that was gloved by leaping shortstop Didi Gregorius, who dived headfirst into second to try and double up Encarnacion. Cleveland’s free-swinging DH scrambled back, but jammed his foot into the base and rolled his ankle badly.
Encarnacion stayed on the ground and rolled around in the infield dirt in obvious pain while waiting for medical attention. He was helped to his feet and had to be assisted off the field, but not after stopping halfway to the dugout because he was in such discomfort.
Encarnacion is the biggest bat in Cleveland’s lineup — he hit 38 homers with 107 RBIs this season — and the Indians aren’t the same without him.