11:06 p.m.-CLEVELAND INDIANS TAKE 1-0 LEAD OVER NEW YORK YANKEES IN 2017 ALDS
CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Indians started the 2017 Major League Baseball Playoffs on a winning note.
Behind a strong pitching performance from 17-game winner Trevor Bauer and timely hitting from outfielder Jay Bruce, the Indians earned a 4-0 victory over the Yankees in front of a sold-out crowd at Progressive Field Thursday night and a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five series.
Bauer set a new single-game playoff best with eight strikeouts, and allowed just two hits and one walk over 6.2 innings of work on the way to his first playoff win. Bauer registered three of his strikeouts against Yankees slugger Aaron Judge, who belted 52 home runs during the regular season.
9:40 p.m.-BRUCE DRIVES IN ANOTHER WITH RBI SAC FLY
CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Indians traded for outfielder Jay Bruce in order to get an impactful bat in the middle of the lineup, and in his first playoff game at Progressive Field, the hard-hitting southpaw has not disappointed.
After hitting a double and scoring a run in his first trip to the plate, Bruce belted a two-run home run into the seats in right field in the fourth inning. Then, in his third at-bat, Bruce smashed an RBI sacrifice fly to center field, which scored second baseman Jose Ramirez and gave the Indians a 4-0 lead over the New York Yankees in the bottom of the fifth inning of Game 1 of the 2017 American League Division Series.
Down in the count, 0-2, against reliever Adam Warren, Bruce watched as three straight sliders sailed out of the strike zone, including one that bounced free in front of the batter’s box, which moved Ramirez from second base to third, and then, smacked a fastball to center field for the sacrifice.
8:55 p.m.-BRUCE CRUSHES HOMER TO RF
CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Indians outfielder Jay Bruce is having quite the introduction to playoff baseball at Progressive Field.
After doubling off of the wall in left field in his first at-bat, Bruce one-upped himself with a hit over the wall in right in the bottom of the fourth inning.
With designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion on with a lead-off walk, Bruce belted a 94-mile-per-hour fastball from New York Yankees starter Sonny Gray into the seats in right field for a two-run home run, which gave the Indians a 3-0 lead over The Bronx Bombers.
8:48 p.m.-BAUER CONTINUES TO CRUISE
CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Indians starter Trevor Bauer has given the club four strong innings against the New York Yankees in Game 1 of the 2017 American League Division Series at Progressive Field.
In the top of the fourth inning, Bauer struck out slugging right fielder Aaron Judge swinging, but the ball sailed to the backstop, which allowed Judge to advance safely to first base. However, Bauer got catcher Gary Sanchez to roll over on a first-pitch curve ball, and third baseman Giovanny Urshela responded by initiating a 5-4-3 double play.
Then, Bauer froze shortstop Didi Gregorius with a 94-mile-per-hour fastball on the inside corner for a called third strike and the final out of the inning. Bauer went after Gregorius with five straight fastballs, and all were in the mid-90s.
8:26 p.m.-JASON KIPNIS SHOWS OFF THE RANGE IN CENTER FIELD
CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona felt comfortable enough with Jason Kipnis’ skill set that he switched the two-time American League All-Star second baseman to center field when he returned from the disabled list in late September.
And against the New York Yankees in the top of the third inning in Game 1 of the 2017 American League Division Series, Kipnis showed why Francona was comfortable with putting him back in the outfield, which is where he played at Arizona State.
Designated hitter Chase Headley led off the inning by smashing a Trevor Bauer pitch toward the gap in left-center field, but Kipnis hustled over from center, timed his leap perfectly and hauled in the catch at near full extension for the first out of the frame.
Bauer threw both of his arms up in the air in appreciation, and then, let out a scream and a fist pump before returning to the mound to strike out Aaron Hicks and get Brett Gardner to ground to shortstop for the final outs of the inning.
8:20 p.m.-INDIANS TAKE 1-0 LEAD OVER YANKEES
CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Indians did not miss their chance to push across a run against the New York Yankees in the bottom of the second inning of Game 1 of the American League Division Series at Progressive Field.
Right fielder Jay Bruce led off the second inning with a double off of the scoreboard in left field, and after he smashed the Sonny Gray pitch, first baseman Carlos Santana singled to center field, which moved Bruce up to third base.
After left fielder Lonnie Chisenhall was hit by a pitch, catcher Roberto Perez grounded into a 6-4-3 double play, but that drove in Bruce for the game’s first run and a 1-0 lead.
8:00 p.m.-INDIANS CAN’T PUSH ACROSS JASON KIPNIS
CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Indians got a runner in scoring position with two outs in the bottom of the first inning, but could not deliver a big hit to bring in center fielder Jason Kipnis, even after a wild pitch from New York Yankees starter Sonny Gray moved him over to third base.
Kipnis grounded into a fielder’s choice after shortstop Francisco Lindor led off the game with a walk, and then, moved over to second base when he was running on a two-strike pitch that second baseman Jose Ramirez grounded to the right side of the infield.
With designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion at bat, Gray threw a ball that bounced in the left-handed batter’s box, off of catcher Gary Sanchez’s left arm and over the screen behind home plate, which allowed Kipnis to move over from second to third base. However, Encarnacion grounded out to end the inning.
7:48 p.m.-BAUER STARTS STRONG FOR INDIANS
CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona faced a lot of questions about why he elected to start Trevor Bauer instead of likely American League Cy Young Award candidate Corey Kluber in Game 1 of the 2017 American League Division Series, but the 17-game winner repaid the faith early.
After getting left fielder Brett Gardner to pop out to shortstop Francisco Lindor, Bauer struck out right fielder Aaron Judge looking and catcher Gary Sanchez swinging to set down the New York Yankees, 1-2-3, in the top of the first inning.
Judge and Sanchez combined to hit 85 home runs during the regular season. Judge blasted a Major League Baseball rookie record 52 home runs in 155 games, and Sanchez set a Yankees benchmark for catches with 33 round-trippers.
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4:15 p.m.-INDIANS SET FOR PLAYOFF ACTION AGAINST YANKEES
CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Indians are back in the Major League Baseball Playoffs for the second straight season, and for the second consecutive year, they will face off against an East Division team in the American League Division Series.
By virtue of their 8-4 victory over the Minnesota Twins in the AL Wild Card Game at Yankee Stadium in The Bronx Tuesday night, their first playoff win since 2012, the New York Yankees advanced to the ALDS to take on the Indians (102-60), the No. 1 seed in the American League and champions of the Central Division for the second straight season.
The Indians are starting 17-game winner Trevor Bauer tonight against the Yankees.
In the month of August, Bauer posted a 5-0 record and 2.30 earned run average in seven appearances, including six starts. Over 39.0 innings of work, Bauer allowed 10 earned runs and nine walks against 40 strikeouts.
Bauer earned two wins each over the Yankees and Boston Red Sox, the top two teams in the AL East Division, as well as one against the Kansas City Royals.
Bauer finished the regular season with a 17-9 record and 4.19 ERA in 32 games, including 31 starts. Over 176.1 innings of work, Bauer registered 196 strikeouts against 60 walks allowed.
During the regular season, Bauer was a standout performer at home, going 10-4 with a 3.93 ERA with 116 strikeouts against 25 walks allowed in 103.0 innings of work in 17 starts at Progressive Field.
By starting Bauer in Game 1, the Indians will be able to keep ace right-hander and likely AL Cy Young Award candidate Corey Kluber on his schedule of pitching every five days, as he will start Game 2 at Progressive Field Friday afternoon. By starting Kluber in Game 2, the Indians could go back to him on regular rest should the ALDS go to a winner-take-all Game 5.
Carlos Carrasco will take the hill in Game 3 and Josh Tomlin would start a Game 4, but is still available to pitch in long relief should the Indians need him in either Games 1 or 2.
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