CLEVELAND – On a night of debate, Aaron Judge, Gerrit Cole, and the New York Yankees made a fairly introductory statement.
Shane Bieber had no counter arguments.
The judge beat a two-run homer in Bieber’s fourth place, Cole finished 13th on his New York playoff debut, and the Yankees opened their AL wildcard series with a 3-3 win over the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday .
Just a few miles from where President Donald Trump and campaign opponent Joe Biden presented their arguments to the nation in their presidential debate, the Yankees faced Bieber, who was the best baseball player during the shortened regular season but was his Playoff debut was ineffective.
Judge and the rest of New York’s hits hadn’t faced Bieber in 2020, but they were well prepared and took some meaty cuts against the 25-year-old ace, who gave up season highs in runs (seven) and hits (nine). over 4 2/3 innings – his shortest stint since June 9 of last season against the Yankees.
“The first inning didn’t go as planned,” said Bieber. “I wish I had been in the zone with my off-speed stuff and challenged these guys a little more. I’ve forced myself into some bad situations and some bad counts in addition to not having my best stuff and Made mistakes.
“No excuses. It wasn’t good.”
The best-of-three series will continue on Wednesday evening. Carlos Carrasco tries to save Cleveland’s season against Masahiro Tanaka.
When Bieber’s last field on a homer by Gleyber Torres bounced loudly from the empty stands on left field in the fifth run, the Yankees had taken the lead 7-2 and had given the rest of baseball an exuberant postseason message: Don’t forget us .
“We got a few runs,” said Brett Gardner, who hit a homer with two runs in the seventh and drove in three. “I don’t think you ever expect a pitcher the caliber of Shane Bieber. Hopefully this is a sign of more good things to come.”
After giving up Torres’ homer, Bieber gave the ball to reigning Indian manager Sandy Alomar Jr. and slowly walked towards Cleveland’s dugout, apparently carrying all of the town’s long-term hopes with him. The Indians have lost seven playoff games in a row.
Cole championed Judges Homer early on, showing why the Yankees had spent $ 324 million on him in the off-season. The right-hander gave up two runs – including Josh Naylor’s homer – and six hits without a walk in seven innings.
Naylor, who passed in from San Diego in deadline trade, went 4v4 and became the first player to score three extra base hits on his postseason debut.
Cole’s strike was the second largest by a New York pitcher in postseason history. Roger Clemens fanned out 15 in Game 4 of the ALCS 2000. Cole was also the first pitcher to score at least 12 hits in three postseason games.
“We had to set the tone for the show,” said Cole. “I’m obviously very grateful and humble to be able to take the ball and be in that position. To be able to deliver feels really good.”
Giancarlo Stanton added a solo shot in ninth for the Yankees, who didn’t even need to warm up their top reliefs – and kept Aroldis Chapman, Zack Britton and Adam Ottavino fresh for Game 2.
The judge’s first homer since he left the injured list on September 16 – and the first Bieber to allow home this season – put the Yankees 2-0 ahead.
“We had a big, long meeting where everyone was sticking to the same plan and just trying to work, count, get spaces to go, and I think overall we did that,” Judge said. “Then this team is dangerous if we can go out there and just drag out bats.
“We hammer all the mistakes that are thrown up there.”
DJ LeMahieu, the AL batting master, started with a single before Judge, who missed 29 games with a stressed calf, shot Bieber’s first pitch, a fastball in the middle of the plate, in the middle right behind the wall.
It was just the shot in the arm the Yankees were looking for after running between 11 and 18 this season, dropping six out of eight on the track.
Unlike the last four postseason games between the Indians and Yankees since 1997, this game, played amid a pandemic that threatened to wipe out the entire season, was different in many ways.
There was hardly any attention in the city center, parts of which were cordoned off because of the debate on the nearby Case Western Reserve campus. Progressive Field was mostly empty and a cold front brought the game time temperature to 61 degrees, making it feel like a fall.
There were a few mosquitos, those annoying flying bugs, that swamped New York aide Joba Chamberlain in the 2007 playoffs.
This time, however, it was the Yankees who made all the mess.
“Our season,” said Gardner, “started today.”
BITS AND PIECES
According to the MLB, Cole was the first AL pitcher to have 13 spikes and no post-season walks. … Naylor is the fifth player to go 4 against 4 or better on his playoff debut, along with AJ Pierzynski (2002), Johnny Damon (2001), Mel Ott (1933) and Frankie Frisch (1921).
MLB relaxed COVID-19 restrictions and allowed players’ family members to participate in the game.
Boone said nearly half of New York gamblers had loved ones on the trip and believes their presence can have a positive effect.
Cole spent time with his 3-month-old son “between naps. This was the first time we went to the ballpark as a family.”
The Indians go through the postseason without their leader.
Manager Terry Francona, who missed 46 games in the regular season due to poor health, watched the game from a suite. Indian President Chris Antonetti said Francona continues to recover, but the 61-year-old is “still well below 100%”.
Carrasco’s inspiring comeback after being diagnosed with leukemia last year is making its postseason. He faces Tanaka, who put up seven innings in Game 3 of the 2017 ALDS against Cleveland.
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