Classic Game 3 In the Bronx, Yankees Prevail

"Not all Hiros wear capes." 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K from Masahiro Tanaka in the clutch. (@Yankees Twitter acct)

“Not all Hiros wear capes.” 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K from Masahiro Tanaka in the clutch. (@Yankees Twitter acct)

By Rich Mancuso/ Sports Editor

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he will always do his best managing from the dugout. After two fateful decisions in Game 2 of the ALDS — failing to challenge a hit batsman call and lifting starter CC Sabathia after 77 pitches — Girardi was ready to redeem himself  Sunday night with his team facing elimination in the best of five series against the Cleveland Indians.

Girardi went with instincts and did not hesitate using his closer Aroldis Chapman who got the final five outs and a save in the Yankees 1-0 win that got them to Game 4 Monday night in the Bronx.

“Everything you do is not going to be perfect,” said Girardi. “And as I said, I’m always going to do my best. And that’s what I do. But it’s not always going to be perfect.” And the way Masahiro Tanaka and Carlos Carrasco were throwing on the mound you could see this one coming. The starters made this a classic postseason game and the lone run came in the seventh inning. After Carrasco was lifted, after limiting the Yankees to three hits over 5-⅔ innings, Andrew Miller gave up the long home run ball to Greg Bird that went deep to the upper deck in right.

Miller does not give up home runs balls to Left handed hitters. But this second one he gave up in his career became the deciding run for the Yankees in their must win.

“I was just trying to have a good at bat,” said Bird. “Knowing Andrew is one, if not one of the best, relievers in our game. I was just trying to swing at strikes and have a good at bat. See ball, hit ball, and kind of do my thing.”

And it was the biggest hit of Bird’s career, The rookie is one of those “Baby Bombers” that are highly touted and expected to lead the Yankees to many more of these postseason wins in the years ahead.”

Francona said about his starter, “He came out, looked like he was using his adrenaline to his advantage throwing a nice crisp fastball and real good offspeed. He was tremendous. That was one of the better games of the year.”

And for the Yankees, this was that classic win, More importantly, they live another day and will throw their ace Luis Severino in Game 4 Monday night. Rain is in the forecast and there is a slight chance the game could be pushed back to Tuesday. Severino is grateful to be getting the ball and another opportunity to extend the Yankees improbable season by returning the Yanks to Cleveland for a decisive fifth game.

But this one had everything that classified a postseason thriller. Carrasco, similar to Tanaka had the effective slider and a fastball that got him ahead in the count.  Francisco Lindor had a chance to put the Indians ahead in the sixth inning but Aaron Judge used his height at the wall in right field and robbed Lindor of a two-run homer.

“For a second I thought it was gone,” said Lindor. “Both teams played good baseball today. You win some, you lose some. With our pitching staff we know we can bounce back. And put some runs up for our starters.”

Lindor made reference as to how Tanaka kept the Indians, the most potent team in baseball off the base paths and that was the difference. In Game 4, the Yankees will give the ball to Luis Severino, who tossed two-thirds of an inning five nights ago in the Bronx in the wild card game win over the Twins.

Cleveland will go with Trevor Bauer in Game 4. The righthander is coming off short rest after the Saturday of day and that allowed Francona to go for the win.  Bauer got the win after tossing 6.2 innings in Game 1 Thursday night at Cleveland.

Sunday’s win was perfect. Girardi made the right moves and the Yankees got another chance to advance to another American League Championship Series.

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