The Cleveland Indians’ typically sound defense, especially at third base, proved to be their downfall against the New York Yankees in Game 4 of the 2017 American League Division Series at Yankee Stadium Monday night.
The Indians committed four errors, and those miscues led to six runs for the Yankees, who evened the best-of-five series at 2-2 with a 7-3 win in front of the home fans in The Bronx and forced a Game 5 at Progressive Field Wednesday night.
Game 2 starters Corey Kluber (Indians) and CC Sabathia (Yankees) will take the mound in the winner-take-all Game 5 matchup in Cleveland.
A fielding error and passed ball extended the bottom of the second inning for the Yankees, and four straight base hits against Trevor Bauer led to a 4-0 advantage over the Indians after two innings of play.
Second baseman Starlin Castro reached on a fielding error charged to Indians third baseman Giovanny Urshela. Castro rocketed an 0-1 throw toward third base, and a late-breaking change of direction caused Urshela to misjudge the ball and have it ricochet off his left ankle.
Then, after Bauer got designated hitter Chase Headley to strike out looking, catcher Roberto Perez had a ball pop out of his glove, which allowed Castro to move into scoring position.
Third baseman Todd Frazier followed with a two-out RBI double that hit off the chalk down the left-field line and brought around Castro. Later, Frazier scored when center fielder Aaron Hicks slapped a single to right-center field.
After left fielder Brett Gardner singled to center field, right fielder Aaron Judge ended Bauer’s night with a two-run double to the wall in left.
Overall, Bauer allowed four hits, two walks and four runs, all unearned, with three strikeouts over 1.2 innings of work in his Game 4 start, which was in stark contrast to the Game 1 performance he had against the Yankees at Progressive Field.
Indians reliever Mike Clevinger made the pitch he needed to end the bottom of the third inning, but the only problem was, it was not for a strikeout, and Urshela once again failed to register an out.
After cleanly fielding a ground ball, Urshela airmailed a throw to first baseman Carlos Santana, and by Santana having to jump to catch the ball, Gardner reached base safely, which allowed Castro to score and gave the Yankees a 5-0 lead.
Castro was on with a double after first baseman Greg Bird led off the inning with a walk.
After giving up a total of three runs in back-to-back innings to the Indians, the Yankees got one back in the bottom of the fifth.
Frazier reached on a throwing error charged to reliever Danny Salazar, and when the throw caromed into foul territory along the right-field line, Frazier hustled down to second base.
A groundout to first base from Hicks moved Frazier to third base, and Gardner lifted an RBI sacrifice fly to center field. After catching the ball for the second out of the inning, Jason Kipnis fired a throw to the plate, but Frazier slid in safely ahead of the tag attempt.
Frazier’s run gave the Yankees a 6-3 lead over the Indians.
Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez was held to just three hits in 14 at-bats over the first three games of the series, but he made up for those struggles in Game 4.
Working against Indians reliever Bryan Shaw in the bottom of the sixth inning, Sanchez took a 95-mile-per-hour cut fastball over the wall in right field for his second home run of the series.
Sanchez’s solo homer, which was New York’s first earned run of the game, gave the Yankees a 7-3 advantage over the Indians.
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