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Yankees 7, Indians 6: Miguel Andujar’s walk-off hit bails out bullpen

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It looked like the Yankees would cruise to a 5-0 win, then the bullpen happened.

Cleveland Indians v New York Yankees Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

CC Sabathia just put together his best outing in years. He held the Angels to just one run during his last start, and picked up right where he left off tonight. As CC continued to pitch well, Josh Tomlin continued his poor start to the season by surrendering three home runs. It looked like that would be enough to give the Yankees their fourth win in a row...until the bullpen fell apart in the eighth inning. They regained the lead, lost it again, then won thanks to a walk-off hit by Miguel Andujar.

The Yankees had some hard hits early, but weren’t able to capitalize, In the first inning, Aaron Judge doubled, but was thrown out sliding into third when Didi Gregorius hit a ground ball to short. They loaded the bases up in the second after Neil Walker and Andujar hit back-to-back singles, and Brett Gardner was hit by a pitch. Judge flew out to end the inning.

New York finally got on the board in the fourth. Neil Walker hit a leadoff single, then Andujar reached on a fielding error. After 12 games in the majors, Gleyber Torres drilled his first career home run to left field.

Not to be outdone, Aaron Judge followed with his own home run to left field to put the Yankees up 4-0. Gary Sanchez one-upped both of them in the fifth by absolutely crushing a ball 461 feet. Finally, the Yankees delivered the dingers that this matchup had all but promised.

For the better part of the game, it looked like the Yankees’ five runs would be enough. Sabathia tossed six scoreless innings and struck out seven batters. His pitches had late movement, and Cleveland only managed three hits off him. He probably could have lasted another inning, but with 92 pitches under his belt, Aaron Boone decided to turn the game over to the bullpen.

Dellin Betances picked up two strikeouts during a scoreless inning of work. It all went downhill in the eighth. Chasen Shreve issued a leadoff walk to Yan Gomes, then gave up a single to Rajai Davis. Bradley Zimmer followed with a home run into Monument Park. Shreve was left in the game to face Francisco Lindor, but was unable to record even one out. Lindor singled, and David Robertson entered the game. Jason Kipnis grounded into a force out that ended with Didi Gregorius diving into second base to get Lindor. The Yankees did get the out, but Lindor kicked Gregorius in the back of the head and he was down for a long time. He finally got up and the Yankees decided to let him stay in the game. After the injury delay, Jose Ramirez homered into the bullpen to tie up the game.

The tie didn’t last long, however. Alexi Ogando took over for Cleveland and didn’t have much luck. With two outs, Judge found himself at the plate with the bases loaded for the second time tonight. It would have been fun to see him hit a grand slam, but all the Yankees needed was a walk. He worked a full count, and Ogando walked in the run.

Aroldis Chapman entered the game looking for his eighth save of the season, and was wild from the get-go. With one on and one out, Chapman drilled Zimmer, then both runners advanced on a wild pitch. He struck out Lindor for the second out, but another wild pitch allowed Gomes to score. Chapman seemed ticked off at Sanchez after that one. In Sanchez’s defense, the ball ended up a good foot above where he set up.

It looked like we were destined for extra innings at that point, but the Yankees came through in the bottom of the ninth. After a couple of awful at-bats, Giancarlo redeemed himself with a double to right field. Walker—who ended his night 2-for-3 with two walks—worked a two-out walk to bring Andujar to the plate. The rookie saved the game with a walk-off single.

The Yankees will look to extend their new winning streak to five games tomorrow afternoon. Sonny Gray will make the start opposite of Trevor Bauer at 1:05 ET. Here’s hoping it is a less stressful game.

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