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Yankees Highlights: New York stuns Cleveland, advances to ALDS

In a game to remember, the Yankees found a rally in their bones, eliminating Cleveland and advancing to the American League Division Series.

Wild Card Round - New York Yankees v Cleveland Indians - Game Two Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

And just like that, the Yankees are through to the ALDS. They swept (if you can call it that) Cleveland in two games, ending their Wild Card Series in short order. That said, while the series was over fast, tonight’s game was an epic dragout fight. It featured rain delays, haymakers, and desperate rallies from both sides. The outcome was in question until the final out.

But when Aroldis Chapman recorded that last out, the Yankees had prevailed by a score of 10-9. They had seemingly snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, only to snatch victory right back at the death. What a game.

The Yankees’ work in Cleveland is done, and they now have a date in California with the rival Rays. Best-of-five, starting Monday.

Winner of the Game

The Yankees’ lineup turned in another fantastic game, showing up with an excellent plate approach against a great pitcher. They worked starter Carlos Carrasco, wearing him out for 73 pitches in 3+ innings. They also socked a few dingers.

Gio Urshela had the loudest hit, a missile of a grand slam sent screaming into the Cleveland night:

That, plus a Giancarlo Stanton solo shot in the second, turned an early 4-0 deficit into a 5-4 lead.

Later, with the game tied 6-6, Gary Sánchez came through with a huge two-run homer that barely cleared the wall in right. And after the Yankees fell behind late in the game, they found one more rally in their bones. Sánchez tied the game on a sac fly, and DJ LeMahieu, hitless to that point, rapped one up the middle to push the Yankees back into the lead:

The Yankees put up 22 runs over the course of a pair of games. They consistently worked great at-bats and hit screaming liners all over the yard against a strong Cleveland pitching staff. Tremendous work from a group that we should expect nothing less from. It’s thanks to that relentless, patient lineup that the Yankees are through to the next round.

Honorable mention: There were countless little moments, whether well-earned walks or key basehits, that we won’t touch on in a highlights post but still played a role in the victory. Let’s remember at least one of those moments, this stellar play by Urshela in the eighth:

Imagine Urshela didn't come up with and start a crucial 5-4-3 double play. The Yankees could have faced a very different situation when they took their turn in the top of the ninth.

Loser of the Game

Had the Yankees not rallied to cinch the series, we would have spent hours debating how to parcel out blame for the team’s failure to hold multiple leads. Aaron Boone would have come under fire for leaving Jonathan Loáisiga and/or Masahiro Tanaka in too long. Zack Britton allowed two runs in 1.1 innings of relief. Hell, some may have even targeted the offense, as on a night flush with runs, the lineup still left a fair number of runners on base in the middle and late innings.

Luckily, the Yankees came through in the clutch and advanced, and we can instead remember the first loser of the night: whoever made the call to start the game at 7:50 EST after a 45-minute rain delay, literal minutes before the heavens opened up again, necessitating another 35-minute delay. That now seems like a lifetime ago. How young we were then, furious at whatever Cleveland meteorologist or league executive decided to have Tanaka pitching to Jose Ramirez in a driving rain.

Honorable mention: Adam Ottavino. Boone had every chance to get Ottavino up, and left the right-hander sitting all game. The manager appears to have lost faith in the formerly dominant reliver.