Greg Bird led off the seventh inning with a towering home run to right field, lifting the Yankees to victory in Game 3. It was the only run the Yankees would need, as Masahiro Tanaka was brilliant.
Tanaka threw seven shutout innings, allowing three hits and one walk while striking out seven. He built on the success of his final regular season start, when he threw seven shutout innings against the Blue Jays and reached a career high in strikeouts for the third time this year, fanning 15 of the 23 batters he faced.
This game was a good old-fashioned pitching duel for the first five innings. Tanaka allowed a one-out single to Carlos Santana in the second, who was promptly erased by a groundball double play. Greg Bird was hit by a pitch in the bottom of the second, but was left stranded when Todd Frazier struck out to end the inning. Jacoby Ellsbury drew a walk to lead off the third, but the opportunity was wasted when Aaron Hicks grounded into a double play.
The Indians threatened in the fourth when Jason Kipnis lined a one-out triple off Aaron Judge’s glove, but Tanaka struck out Jose Ramirez and Jay Bruce to end the inning. Didi Gregorius got the Yankees' first hit when he lined a two-out single to center in the bottom half of the frame, but he was also left stranded when Starlin Castro struck out to end the inning. Santana walked to lead off the Indians' half of the fifth, but was erased on an inning-ending double play that followed an Austin Jackson fly out.
Aaron Judge made the defensive play of the game in the sixth, going over the wall to rob Fransisco Lindor of a two-run home run. Tanaka took off his cap to salute his right fielder, and the game remained scoreless.
The Yankees drove Carlos Carrasco from the game in their half of the sixth, but failed to score. An Aaron Hicks lead-off single was wasted when Brett Gardner grounded into a double play. Judge walked and moved to second on a Gary Sanchez single. Didi walked to load the bases, knocking Carrasco out of the game. But former Yankee Andrew Miller ended the would-be rally by getting Starlin Castro on a pop up.
Aroldis Chapman recorded a five-out save in relief of David Robertson to nail down the win. He struck out four of the seven Cleveland batters he faced, tamping a first and second with one out threat in the ninth.
Remnants of Hurricane Nate are scheduled to hit New York on Monday, with heavy rains forecast. So the Yankees may need to wait until Tuesday for an opportunity to even this series. As of now, Game 4 is scheduled for 4:00 PM EDT on Monday, with Luis Severino tabbed to make the start.
Severino is looking to rebound from his disastrous outing in the Wild Card Game, where he allowed three runs on four hits — two of which were home runs — while only managing to record a single out. The Indians have decided to send out Trevor Bauer again for Game 4.