Athletics

Pratt's Instant Replay: A's 3, Yankees 2

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Pratt's Instant Replay: A's 3, Yankees 2

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND -- Another day, another walk-off hit. This time the hero was Brandon Moss. He drove in Yoenis Cespedes to give the A's a 3-2 win over the Yankees. The A's 10 walk-off wins lead Major League Baseball.Starting Pitching ReportTommy Milone was in complete control against one of the best lineups in the game. He dazzled over seven innings, striking out a new career-high 10 batters. The last A's pitcher to strike out 10 Yankees hitters in a game was Bobby Witt in 1993.The rookie left-handed pitcher's changeup was working so well it looked like it came out of his hand in slow motion. It was reminiscent of Bugs Bunny's changeup in those old Looney Toons episodes. It was so good that his fastball started to paralyze Yankees hitters.Milone ended up throwing 110 pitches. He allowed just six hits and didn't walk a batter. At one point Milone retired nine batters in a row. Milone worked out of trouble in the sixth inning. After getting ahead 0-2 on Derek Jeter, he painted the outside corner of the plate perfectly. Jeter got a call befitting a future Hall of Famer as umpire Bill Miller called it a ball. Instead of an out Jeter reached on an infield single. Teixeira added a hit to put runners on first and second with two outs, but Alex Rodriguez grounded out to end the inning.At the PlateIn the third inning Coco Crisp hit a leadoff triple down the right field line that rolled to the wall. He motored into third with a headfirst dive, but would have been safe standing up. Jemile Weeks drove him home with a sacrifice fly to center giving the A's 1-0 lead. In the next frame the Brandons (Moss and Inge) hit back-to-back doubles with no outs making it 2-0. The A's hitters threatened in the first inning. They loaded the bases with two outs after Reddick hit a two out double, Cespedes followed with an infield single, and Seth Smith walked to load the bases. Brandon Moss got solid contact but lined out to center field to end the inning. They also loaded the bases in the fourth inning and the seventh.The A's offense went 2 for 13 with runners in scoring position and stranded 10 runners. A dangerous proposition when facing the high powered Yankees offense.Reddick ended the night 3 for 5 with two doubles. Cespedes collected four hits and scored the game winning run when he was driven in by Moss.Bullpen ReportRyan Cook has never pitched three days in a row. When pitching on no rest Cook has allowed eight runs over 7.1 innings in nine games. He promptly gave up a game-tying homer to Robinson Cano in the ninth. The rookie closer was able to get out of the inning without any more damage. Cook has allowed two homers this season. They came on back to back nights.Jerry Blevins relieved Milone to start the eighth inning. He gave up a home run to the leadoff hitter Russell Martin making it a 2-1 game. He also hit Teixeira with a pitch. Evan Scribner came in after Blevins and retired Rodriguez to end the inning.In the FieldReddick threw out Teixeira easily as he tried to advance from first to third on a single in the fourth inning. It was his American League-tying ninth outfield assist -- all of which have come while playing in right field. A's outfielders now have 21 assists, matching their 2011 total.AttendanceThe A's announced an attendance of 24,148.Dot RaceRed wins the dot race for the second night in a row.Up NextJarrod Parker (6-4, 3.16 ERA) gets the ball for the A's. He has allowed 10 runs in his last two starts after allowing 10 runs total in his eight starts before that. Phil Hughes (9-7, 4.22 ERA) will be on the mound for the Yankees. He has a 6.08 ERA in his career against the A's.

Who can we blame for epidemic of teams losing three straight elimination games?

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AP

Who can we blame for epidemic of teams losing three straight elimination games?

Fox’ Matt Vasgersian, who does his job well,  declared the New York Yankees’ American League Division Series win over Cleveland to be amazing.

It is not. Not any more.

In fact, the Yankees winning three elimination games in succession is a feat that has happened seven times in the past three years. And we can only conclude from that that they’re not making teams that can avoid the bad beat the way they used to.

The 2017 Indians joined the 2016 Indians, Warriors and Thunder, the 2015 Clippers, Capitals and Texas Rangers, the 2014 Penguins and Sharks, the 2013 Red Wings, the 2012 Reds and Cardinals, the 2011 Penguins, the 2010 Bruins and Capitals as proud laryngectomy victims – teams that needed to win only one of three (or in the Sharks’ case, four) games to advance in the playoffs (or in the Warriors’ case, win).

That’s 15 times this “amazing” thing has happened, which means that by any estimate, teams that needed to win three consecutive games to escape the icy hand of Uncle Death are now pretty much the norm in this decade.

And why, you ask? I blame Twitter. I blame global warming. I blame video games. I blame smartphones. I blame phones. I blame the new president. I blame the old president. I blame Satan. I blame participation trophies and orange slices and juice boxes. I blame the players and I blame the owners and I blame the fans and definitely those smarmy bastards in the media. They’re the worst.

I blame you. Hell, I think I blame Matt Vasgersian.

But whomever is at fault, we have here an epidemic of feet strangling their owners when everything seems their cheeriest. And unless we live in such misery-enriched times that good times are only precursors to far worse ones, there is no sensible explanation. Players’ windpipes are no smaller than they were a decade ago. The Internet is older than seven years. Close-out games are not materially more difficult than they were before 2010.

And yet winning that one extra game is suddenly like finding out your SAT test has been written totally in anagrams. In other words, when things look brightest, that’s when you know you’re totally screwed.

And if you don’t believe me, ask Terry Francona. In a few weeks maybe. Not right away. Not unless you’re keen to see how it feels to have your neck used as a bathmat.

 

Cleveland blows 2-0 series lead, Yankees win Game 5, head to ALCS

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USATSI

Cleveland blows 2-0 series lead, Yankees win Game 5, head to ALCS

BOX SCORE

CLEVELAND -- These young Yankees were unshaken, resilient and as tough as the city they represent.

The baby Bronx Bombers have grown up fast.

Didi Gregorius, following in the October footprints left by Derek Jeter, homered twice off Corey Kluber as New York beat the Cleveland Indians 5-2 in Game 5 on Wednesday night to complete its comeback from a 2-0 deficit in the Division Series and dethrone the AL champions.

The bend-but-don't-break Yankees, way ahead of schedule, staved off elimination for the fourth time in this postseason and advanced to play the Houston Astros in the AL Championship Series starting Friday night at Minute Maid Park.

With a blend of young stars and older veterans coming up big, the Yankees rocked Cleveland and bailed out manager Joe Girardi, who failed to challenge a key call in a Game 2 loss that threatened to sabotage New York's season.

"These guys had my back and they fought and fought," Girardi said. "They beat a really good team. What those guys did for me, I'll never forget it. "

The Yankees went 2-5 against the AL West champion Astros, led by 5-foot-6 dynamo and MVP candidate Jose Altuve. But none of that matters now to this group of New Yorkers.

After winning twice at home, and after Girardi said he "screwed up" and felt horrible about it, the Yankees - with little offensive help from rookie star Aaron Judge - came into Progressive Field and finished off the Indians, who won 102 games during the regular season, ripped off a historic 22-game winning streak and were favored to get back to the World Series after losing in seven games a year ago to the Chicago Cubs.

Cleveland's Series drought turns 70 next year - baseball's longest dry spell.

"Nobody wanted the season to be over," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "It doesn't wind down, it comes to a crashing halt. It's disappointing. We felt good about ourselves. We made it harder to win, especially in the last two games."

The Indians closed to 3-2 in the fifth against starter CC Sabathia before David Robertson pitched 2 2/3 hitless innings for the win. Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman, who faced Cleveland in last year's spine-tingling World Series and signed an $86 million free agent contract in December, worked two innings for the save.

Chapman went to the mound with a three-run lead in the ninth after Brett Gardner battled Cody Allen for 12 pitches before hitting an RBI single, with New York's fifth run scoring when Todd Frazier raced home on right fielder Jay Bruce's throwing error.

Gardner's gritty at-bat was symbolic of these Yankees. They wouldn't give in.

"We can win a lot of different ways," Gardner said.

When Austin Jackson was called out on strikes to end it, the Yankees rushed to the mound to celebrate with a wide-eyed Chapman. An elated Girardi hugged his coaches.

The Yankees became the 10th team to overcome a 2-0 deficit to win a best-of-five playoff series. New York also did it in 2001, rallying to beat Oakland - a series remembered for Jeter's backhand flip to home plate.

Gregorius, who took over at shortstop following Jeter's retirement after the 2014 season, hit a solo homer in the first off Kluber and added a two-run shot in the third off Cleveland's ace, who didn't look like himself during either start in this series.

One win shy of a Series title last year, the Indians had only one goal in mind in 2017.

They came up short again, and have now lost six consecutive games with a chance to clinch a postseason series. The skid dates to last year's World Series, when they squandered a 3-1 lead to the Cubs.

Cleveland is the first team in history to blow a two-game series lead in consecutive postseasons.

Everything was set up for the Indians: Kluber on the mound, Game 5 at home, sensational setup man Andrew Millerrested.

The Yankees, though, wouldn't be denied. They battled back from a 3-0 deficit in the first inning of their wild-card game against Minnesota and then had to overcome a crushing loss in Game 2, when Girardi's decisions led to him being booed at Yankee Stadium.

But these Yankees displayed pinstriped pride.

They're moving on.

JUDGE NOT

The Yankees advanced without much help from Judge, who struck out four times in Game 5 and went 1 for 20 (.050) in the series with 16 strikeouts - an ALDS record. But the 6-foot-7 rookie might have saved New York's season in Game 3, when he reached above the right-field wall to rob Francisco Lindor of a two-run homer in a 1-0 win. "I didn't do my job at the top of the order, but my teammates came up big for me," Judge said.

KLUBER KLOBBERED

Kluber was one of baseball's most consistent pitchers all season, winning 18 games and leading the AL with a 2.25 ERA.

However, October was cruel to the right-hander. He allowed nine runs, including four homers, over 6 1/3 innings in two postseason starts, hardly what he or the Indians expected.

Kluber overcame a back issue earlier this season and it flared up this fall.

"He's fighting a lot," Francona said. "I think you also have to respect the fact that guy wants to go out there and he's our horse. And sometimes it doesn't work."

SLUMPS

The Indians batted .171 as a team with All-Stars Francisco Lindor (2 for 18) and Jose Ramirez (2 for 20) unable to snap out of funks.

SWEET SWING

Gregorius set a franchise record for home runs in a season by a shortstop with 25, one more than Jeter hit in 1999 when No. 2 led the Yankees to a second straight World Series title.

Gregorius got New York off to an ideal start, homering with two outs in the first when Kluber grooved a fastball. The shot deep into the seats in right raised the anxiety level to an already jittery Cleveland crowd fearing the worst.