Devastating Loss. Yanks on the Brink. Cleveland 6 NY 5

The Yankees were one strike away from a win. But Oscar Gonzalez slapped a 1-2 slider from Clarke Schmidt into centerfield for the game-tying and walk-off-game-winning hit in Cleveland’s 6-5 victory.

NY entered the 9th up 5-3, but Cleveland got 5 slap singles — one on a bloop and one due to the shift — to tie and win the game.

As devastating a loss as the Yankees have experienced in their history. It puts them on the brink in this best of 5 series. They need to win the next two.

It ruined a game of redemption and comebacks by the Yankees:

  • Luis Severino looked shot early — barely escaping the 2nd inning down 2-0, but then he got off the canvas and pitched great ball into the 6th.
  • Aaron Judge hit a 2-run homer in the 3rd to tie the game 2-2!
  • Oswaldo Cabrera hit a 2-run homer to put NY ahead 4-2 in the 5th.
  • Harrison Bader hit a solo homer in the 7th to put NY up 5-3, making Brian Cashman look good again on that Jordan Montgomery trade.
  • Jonathan Loaisiga and Wandy Peralta had been brilliant in relief, taking the Yanks into the 9th with a combined 2.1 innings of shutout ball.
  • And even Clarke Schmidt was looking like a savior, striking out Josh Naylor with bases loaded, 1 out in the 9th to put the Yanks an out away from victory. And then going 1-2 on Gonzalez. A strike away.

Schmidt was pitching and Clay Holmes was never even warming up — leading many fans to wonder if Holmes was injured. But Holmes said afterwards he was perfectly fine — manager Aaron Boone simply decided not to use him.

“He was down there available, but we felt we’d be putting him in a tough situation,” said manager Aaron Boone afterwards. “Part of the thing with him being available for this series was not really in a back-to-back situation yet. He just hadn’t thrown any live or anything.”

The move led to a lot of 2nd-guessing — even by Yankee starter Luis Severino: “He’s our closer,” said Severino when asked about it. “So of course I was surprised. I don’t know if he was down. There shouldn’t be people down in the playoffs. That’s something you guys need to ask Boone or (Matt) Blake to see what was going on there.”

1. Severino Gets Off the Canvas

Luis Severino was like a boxer knocked down several times and seemingly out — but gets up and starts a comeback to win the fight on points. He had nothing early — allowing 3 hits in the 1st and 3 hits in the 2nd inning. Although one of the hits in the 1st looked to many Yankee fans like an Isiah Kiner-Falefa error.

Severino was on the verge of being yanked in the 2nd inning, down 2-0 with runners on 1st and 2nd, only 1 out, having allowed 6 hits, and his pitch count approaching 60.

But he got a fly out and line out to end the 2nd, and the Aaron Judge homer in the top of the next frame rejuvenated him. Severino struck out the first two batters of the 3rd and retired 13 in a row — with 1-2-3 innings in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th, and getting the first 2 outs of the 6th.

2. Judge Homer Ties It

Aaron Judge made everything all right — for the Yankees and himself included — by launching a 2-run bomb to left center to tie the game 2-2 in the top of the 3rd, off Dr. Sticks Triston McKenzie. Redemption for Judge who was 0-9 with 8 strikeouts in the 2-game series thus far.

3. Oswaldo Homer Puts NY Up 4-2

And then in the 5th, the Yankees took charge when Oswaldo Cabrera launched a MISSILE to right center for a 4-2 NY lead.

Oswaldo finished by pimping a bat flip that was the talk of the game for the next 10 minutes on Twitter.

4. Falefa’s Defense: Cleveland Finds NY’s Achilles Heel

After retiring 13 in a row, Luis Severino was an out away from ending the 6th — with his pitch count over 100 it would be his final inning. With 2 outs, Andres Gimenez hit a tough grounder to shortstop that Isiah Kiner-Falefa made the play on, but his throw to 1st was off line and in the dirt — Anthony Rizzo scooped it but Gimenez was safe.

The play would lead to a run. Baseball has a way of finding a team’s achilles heel. Falefa has made some terrific plays in the field for NY this year, but does have a penchant for some poor throws to 1st, as well as botching easy plays that has had Yankee Twitter on his ass all summer.

With still 2 outs, a slap single by Gabriel Arias sent Severino to the showers.

Lou Trivino came in and allowed a RBI single to Will Brennan before getting the final out. NY 4 Cleveland 3.

5. Bader Homer Puts NY Up 5-3

Harrison Bader made everything alright by ripping a quick-bat homer to left in the top of the 7th to make it 5-3 and regain the Yanks’ 2-run lead.

6. Loaisiga & Wandy Terrific

Jonathan Loaisiga got the first 2 outs of the 7th before yielding a single and was lifted for Wandy Peralta. This did not go over well with many fans on twitter but Wandy got the final out and then pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the 8th — winning over Yankee hearts everywhere.

7. The Devastating End

Wandy came out for the 9th and got the first out. Things were looking good — 2 outs to go. Yanks up 5-3.

Bloop Single Because Oswaldo Playing Too Deep in Left

Myles Straw hit a pop up to left that Oswaldo Cabrera raced in for and could not catch. Observers on tv like Ron Darling felt Cabrera was playing too deep a left field, especially against Straw, and it was noted Cabrera is not a natural outfielder. Yankee fans wondered in perfect hindsight why Tim Locastro wasn’t out there.

Baseball has a way of finding your achilles heel.

Schmidt No Holmes

Then Steven Kwan singled to left and Wandy was gone. 1st and 3rd, 1 out. NY 5 Cleveland 3.

In came Clarke Schmidt. Clay Holmes was not even warming, leaving many like John Sterling on the radio to wonder if he was hurt.

Amed Rosario greeted Schmidt by slapping a single to to left. NY 5 Cleveland 4.

Easy Grounder Becomes Single Against the Shift

Jose Ramirez hit a grounder to short — but nobody was there due to the shift. Kiner-Falefa made a great play in getting to the ball and snaring it to keep it in the infield. Bases loaded, 1 out.

But Clarke Schmidt reached back and struck out Josh Naylor on wonderful curveballs.

2 out. Bases loaded. NY 5 Cleveland 4.

Schmidt went 1-2 on Oscar Gonzalez.

The Yanks were a strike away from victory.

But Gonzalez hit a 1-2 slider up the middle for a single to center for the old ballgame.

The Boxscore


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