CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Indians’ historic 2017 season came to an end with a 5-2 loss to the New York Yankees in Game 5 of the 2017 American League Division Series at Progressive Field Wednesday night.
After winning the first two games of the best-of-five series, the Indians dropped three straight contests as their offense went into a slump, the defense made costly errors that led to unearned runs and the starting pitching wore out as the innings and outings piled up.
Over the final four games of the series, the Indians led just once, when catcher Yan Gomes delivered an RBI single to clinch the come-from-behind victory in the 13th inning of Game 2. The Yankees led or were tied with the Indians for 39 innings over the final four games of the series.
The Yankees were down to their final strike in the top of the first inning, but Gregorius delivered with a solo home run into the seats in right field for a 1-0 lead over the Indians.
On a 1-2 pitch from Kluber, Gregorius turned on the 94-mile-per-hour fastball on the inside part of the plate and belted it well into the first deck of seats at Progressive Field for his second home run of the 2017 postseason.
Although Kluber gave up the early run, he rebounded by striking out catcher Gary Sanchez swinging to end the inning. Earlier in the frame, Kluber set down right fielder Aaron Judge swinging. It was Judge’s 13th strikeout of the ALDS, which tied a Major League record for the most in a playoff series.
Then, in his next at-bat, Gregorius belted a 378-foot home run to the seats in right field, and the two-run blast gave the Yankees a 3-0 lead over the Indians, who went hitless in this first three trips to the plate and broke through with their first hit on shortstop Francisco Lindor’s lead-off single in the fourth..
With left fielder Brett Gardner on first base after a lead-off single to right field, Gregorius smashed a knee-high curveball well over the wall in right field.
Kluber allowed three hits and three runs, all earned, along with two walks over 3.2 innings of work and left the game with the Indians facing a 3-0 deficit in the fourth inning of the winner-take-all contest. Of those three hits Kluber allowed, two were home runs off of Gregorius’ bat.
After scuffling the first two times through the batting order, the Indians were able to string together four straight singles, and two of those hits drove in runs, which cut the Yankees’ lead down to a run, 3-2, after the fifth inning.
Left fielder Austin Jackson got the rally going with a one-out single to center field off of Yankees starter CC Sabathia. After fouling off the first pitch from Sabathia, Jackson took two straight cutters out of the strike zone before catching up to one and lining it into center field.
Then, right fielder Jay Bruce smacked a Sabathia pitch into right field and moved Jackson over to second base. Catcher Roberto Perez followed with a single to right field of his own that drove in Jackson for Cleveland’s first run of the game and allowed Bruce to go from first base to third.
Bruce came around to score Cleveland’s second run of the inning when third baseman Giovanny Urshela poked a single to right field, which drove Sabathia from the game.
Thanks to a pair of Indians miscues, the Yankees added two insurance runs in the top of the ninth inning.
New York center fielder Aaron Hicks started the rally with a one-out single to left field that Jackson overran, which gave Hicks an extra base. Then, two batters later, third baseman Todd Frazier drew a walk to put runners at first and second with two outs.
Gardner followed with a 12-pitch at-bat against Indians closer Cody Allen, where he fouled off six offerings, including five straight at one point, before getting an RBI single to right field that brought in Hicks. Frazier came around to score when Bruce overthrew the cut-off man and was charged with the Indians’ second error of the inning.
© 2017 WKYC-TV