Cleveland Guardians were defeated by the New York Yankees 5-1 on Tuesday to secure a spot in the American League Championship Series after a solid start from lefty Nestor Cortes. The Yankees won Game 5 to wrap off a back-and-forth series in which weather postponed three games, and the Yankees faced elimination in Game 4 in Cleveland.
We’ve had discussions in that clubhouse about how, as a family, we must maintain composure regardless of how nicely or poorly things work out. “We have to rely on ourselves; there is no one else.”
When Justin Verlander and Jameson Taillon square off in Game 1 of the best-of-seven ALCS on Wednesday night in Houston, they will need more of the same to defeat the Astros. The Astros and Yankees concluded the regular season with the two best records in the American League, but Houston won five of the seven games played versus New York.
According to Yankees manager Aaron Boone, the difficulty is that we’re up against a strong squad. As for the tight turnaround, “as far as baseball is concerned, we do it all the time. We’ll be OK. We’ll go in there with some confidence. We know they are a fantastic club, rested and ready.”
On Tuesday, the Yankees will need their offensive performance against the Guardians to compete against Houston. Giancarlo Stanton pushed the Yankees ahead 3-0 in the first inning by launching a line drive to the right field wall with a home run on an 87.5 mph cutter from Cleveland starter Aaron Civale. The blast scored Gleyber Torres and Anthony Rizzo. Before Guardians manager Terry Francona fired Civale, he faced just one more hitter and threw just 26 pitches, collecting one strikeout.
The first run established the tone for Cortes to pitch in.
From that point on, Cortes stated, “I knew all I had to do was throw strikes and be able to get us as deep as possible.”
Aaron Judge added another run in the second inning by launching an 81.3 mph curveball from Sam Hentges over the wall in right-center field to make it 4-0. Judge’s 13th home run of his playoff career propelled him over Reggie Jackson and Yogi Berra for the fifth-most in Yankees postseason history. It was his fourth home run in a winner-take-all game, the most insignificant league history, and his fourth in a winner-take-all match.
The judge stated, “We’re simply trying to do our job. Stanton and Rizzo had been producing throughout the series, so I wanted to jump in and help when I could. “When you’re in the middle of the order, you’ve got to come up and contribute,” said Rizzo.
When Cleveland outfielder Steven Kwan hit a pop-up to left field off the bat of shortstop Oswaldo Cabrera in the third inning, they confronted the Yankees with a potentially dangerous situation. Hicks received an MRI at New York Presbyterian after leaving the game with a left knee injury. He won’t be there for the rest of the postseason.
.Later in the third inning, third baseman Jose Ramirez hit a sacrifice fly to center fielder Harrison Bader, scoring Austin Hedges to score 4-1. Cleveland responded with its only run of the game. In their final game of the year, the Guardians managed just one offensive run while collecting eight hits, leaving six runners on base, and going 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position.
Terry Francona, manager of the Guardians, stated, “We pushed them about as far as we could, and they came out and defeated us today. We are unable to go on while they do.
In the fifth inning, Rizzo added another run for the Yankees by hitting an RBI single to center field off Guardians reliever James Karinchak to score Torres, who had advanced to the scoring position after following a walk and a base-stealing attempt.
We were in charge of the area, Boone stated. It was tough at-bats and competitive at-bats that set the tone for us. “That was when we are at our finest, forcing you into the zone.”
After tossing 61 pitches and surrendering just three hits, one run, one walk, and two strikeouts in the fifth inning, Cortes departed the game. Having last pitched on Friday in Game 2, he has only had four days of rest. To produce weak contact rather than attempt to strike out batters, Cortes mixed his fastball (54%), cutter (26%), and slider (16%) throughout the whole performance.
The Yankees dugout concurred that Cortes had more potent stuff on Tuesday than he had in his last ALDS start, even though Cortes learned last-minute that he would be starting the series finale from Boone after the game was postponed on Monday night due to rain.
Just the Nestor legend, Boone said. “I knew he wanted the ball, and once we were rained out, I just felt that Nestor was who I wanted to go with,” the speaker said.
Cortes embraced the strain of beginning an elimination game.
Cortes declared, “I’ve got nothing to lose.” I feel like today, I walked in with the duty in my hands to take care of the narrative, to take care of what my career has been, and I was just glad to perform, so for me, this is just a cherry on top, and hopefully, there are more moments like this.
The Yankees’ bullpen, which seemed to be their biggest weakness going into the postseason, was given the power to decide their fate when Cortes left the game after the fifth. Jonathan Loaisiga gave Amed Rosario and Ramirez singles before Josh Naylor and Oscar Gonzalez were forced to ground out. Gabriel Arias was struck out to finish the sixth inning. Next, Boone brought on Chris Sale. After returning for one more inning, Loaisiga completed the seventh. He threw two innings, allowing three hits, no runs or walks, and striking out two batters.
When Clay Holmes entered the game in the eighth inning and shut down the top of the Guardians’ order by striking out Rosario and Gonzalez and getting Ramirez to ground out, it increased confidence in the Yankees’ bullpen.
Boone remarked, “I think [Holmes] has been throwing the ball extremely well.” I felt he was smart throughout the series. “Locked in. He’s come in some huge moments, and I feel like back a month or so before he had the shoulder, I feel like he started to get it going.”
Holmes then sent the ball to Wandy Peralta, who has pitched in each game of the series against Cleveland and has established himself as one of Boone’s go-to relievers. Before giving up a single to Arias, striking out Andres Gimenez, and allowing a single to Luke Maile, Peralta got Naylor to ground out. Peralta got Myles Straw to ground into a fielder’s choice with two runners on base to guarantee New York a game against the Astros.
The team bus to the airport left about an hour and a half after the last out, so the Yankees did not have much time to spray champagne and drink beer. The Yankees anticipated a more joyous flight to Houston if Game 5 had not been postponed due to the weather on Monday. The squad anticipates being primarily business, though, as there is no day off before the ALCS begins.
Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole said, “I’m hoping we do some scouting reports on the plane so we can sleep in.”
Several Yankees said they would probably drink more beer and champagne if they had a bad day before Game 1 of the ALCS. Instead, the group wrapped up the celebrations swiftly, finishing in about 20 minutes, before packing to leave for the airport.
Judge declared, “We’ve got other plans.” While we will undoubtedly rejoice and enjoy the occasion, a significant series will begin the next day.
At 7:37 p.m., Game 1 is slated to begin. ET.