Bronx, NY: That definite playoff atmosphere was felt in the Bronx Friday night at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees are headed to the postseason and just a matter of time when they will clinch their first Al East title since 2012.
And the Indians, battling the Minnesota Twins for the AL Central lead, could head to a possible postseason meeting with the Yankees. This was a ballgame that went to the Yankees 3-2 after losing the previous night 19-5.
The Yankees have been known to rebound after a bad loss and that was their worst home defeat in the Bronx this season. They lead the American League in runs scored but this night runs were hard to find as Indians starter Aaron Civale, in his fourth career start, completed 6.0 innings and he kept the potent Yankees from leaving the yard.
But this game could have gone either way. Brett Gardner prevented the Indians from tying the game in the eighth inning with a running catch in deep right center.
And then there was Yasiel Puig. The Indians acquired the Cuban born Puig at the trade deadline. They got him for more punch in the lineup and also for his ability to keep runners from advancing or scoring with his arm doing the work out in right field.
Puig homered, his 24th in the 7th inning, a fastball off winning pitcher Masahiro Tanaka. He botched a ball in right for an error that led to a Yankees run in the 5th.
Puig said about the error, “This is baseball.” Indeed it is, because two strong throws from right in the seventh prevented DJ LeMahieu to score from third as the Indians bullpen kept it close and the Yankees left the bases loaded.
But give the assist to Yasiel Puig. His arm kept the game in reach for the Indians.
“It was very nice,” said Tyler Clippard who was on the mound. He was very thankful that his new outfielder prevented another run from scoring in this potential playoff matchup of two teams.
Clippard thanked Puig back in the dugout. “‘Thank you for your arm,”Clippard said to Puig.
“You have to respect his arm,” said Indians manager Terry Francona. “Those guys would have probably been out.”
In typical Yankees fashion they got the hit when it was needed. And Aroldis Chapman in the ninth notched his 34th save. He got Puig to pop out, Jose Ramirez swinging, and Jason Kipnis swinging after walking Carlos Santana to get the tying run on base.
They will go at it again Saturday afternoon as this potential postseason matchup continues in the Bronx.
More on the Game: Jose Ramirez recorded three of the Indians’ hits that included a double and a home run. His 20th home run in the second inning off Masahiro Tanaka was the third straight year reaching that mark.
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