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Bird homers, Yankees blank Indians 1-0

The Sports Xchange
October 08. 2017 11:24PM
New York first baseman Greg Bird reacts after he hit a solo home run during the seventh inning against the Cleveland Indians in game three of the 2017 ALDS at Yankee Stadium on Sunday night. (Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports)



NEW YORK — Greg Bird led off the bottom of the seventh inning with a homer, and Aroldis Chapman posted a five-out save as the New York Yankees staved off elimination Sunday night with a 1-0 victory over the Cleveland Indians in Game 3 of the American League Division Series.

Bird helped the Yankees force Game 4 on Monday night when he lifted a 95 mph fastball on a 1-1 count from left-hander Andrew Miller (0-1) about halfway up in the second deck in right field.

It was only the second homer allowed by Miller to a left-handed hitter this season.

After Miller gave up Bird’s homer, David Robertson recorded the first out of the eighth but walked Michael Brantley, earning a hook from manager Joe Girardi.

Chapman struck out pinch hitter Yan Gomes on a 102 mph fastball after making three pickoff attempts at first on pinch runner Greg Allen. The left-hander ended the eighth by blowing a 102 mph fastball by Giovanny Urshela.

With one out in the ninth, Chapman gave up a single to Jason Kipnis and an infield hit to Jose Ramirez, putting runners at first and second. Chapman secured the win by fanning Jay Bruce and retiring Carlos Santana on a fly ball to deep center field.

Masahiro Tanaka (1-0) scattered three hits in seven outstanding innings. He struck out seven, walked one, threw 92 pitches, induced two double plays and received defensive help from right fielder Aaron Judge.

Cleveland’s Carlos Carrasco, who missed last year’s postseason recovering from a hand injury, allowed three hits in 5 2/3 scoreless innings but exited after loading the bases in the sixth.

Before Bird’s homer and Chapman’s save, the Indians nearly took a 2-0 lead on Tanaka with one out in the sixth. Francisco Lindor lifted a fly ball that appeared to have enough to go out, but Judge brought the ball back by extending his glove over the wall to make the catch.

The Yankees mounted a threat in the sixth after Judge’s catch, loading the bases on two walks and a single by Gary Sanchez. Miller came on and retired Starlin Castro on a popup to Lindor in shallow center field.

Cleveland’s first real threat occurred in the fourth inning when Kipnis tripled to deep right field. Judge’s misplay of the ball (he was not given an error) featured him kicking the ball toward right-center field as Kipnis sped into third base.

Tanaka rebounded by striking out Jose Ramirez and Bruce.

The Yankees got their first hit when Didi Gregorius singled up the middle but he was stranded when Castro chased a breaking ball for Carrasco’s sixth strikeout to end the fourth.

The Indians threatened again in the fifth when Carlos Santana led off with a walk and Austin Jackson fouled off four consecutive pitches. Tanaka used his curveball to retire Jackson on a fly ball to the warning track in right field before getting a double play three pitches later.

NOTES: New York manager Joe Girardi heard significantly loud boos during pregame introductions. ... Cleveland manager Terry Francona said every pitcher except RHP Trevor Bauer was available after getting throwing and stretching done during Saturday’s optional workout. ... Girardi said RHP Sonny Gray is prepared to start Game 4 on Monday. ... Indians DH Michael Brantley started for injured Edwin Encarnacion (sprained right ankle) and went 0-for-2 with a walk. ... Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson threw out the ceremonial first pitch.


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