On the strength of two home runs from Didi Gregorius and a shutdown effort by the bullpen, the Yankees beat the Indians in Game 5 of the ALDS, 5-2, to take the series.
After losing the first two games, the Yankees stormed back to win the next three to advance to the ALCS, where they will take on the Astros. >> Box score
The Yankees jumped on the board quickly against Corey Kluber when Gregorius ripped a solo homer in the first inning.
Gregorius wasn't finished there, however, as he went deep for a two-run shot in the third inning against Kluber. The Indians right-hander was done after just 3 2/3 innings, as the Yankees tagged him for three runs on three hits.
After cruising through the first four innings, CC Sabathia struggled in the fifth as the Indians got on the board with an RBI single from Roberto Perez. After Giovanny Urshela singled in another run, Sabathia was pulled with one out in the inning. After retiring 13 of the first 14 batters (with nine strikeouts) Sabathia exited having given up two runs on five hits.
David Robertson escaped the jam when he induced a ground-ball double play from Franciso Lindor. He pitched 2 2/3 scoreless to keep the Yankees in the lead.
Brett Gardner added insurance in the ninth with a two-run single after a 12-pitch at-bat, giving Aroldis Chapman all he would need to close out the game and series.
Fill the captain's shoes? No, problem. Gregorius has blossomed into a star and he helped carry the Yankees' otherwise dormant offense to the American League Championship Series accounting for three of the Yankees' five runs.
Then the player many believe is the "captain" of the position players, Gardner, added a huge hit, plating two insurance runs (one on an error after the hit) during a 12-pitch at-bat in the top of ninth. The runs were enormous as it gave some breathing room to the Yankees going into the ninth.
Other veterans stepped in to lend a hand. Robertson bailed out Sabathia and then went on to hurl 2 2/3 innings. Yankees manager Joe Girardi went straight to Chapman with six outs to go, despite having Chad Green and Tommy Kahnle available, and even Robertson could have been used batter to batter.
Chapman didn't have his most overpowering stuff in the eighth inning and then sat through a 22-minute top of the ninth before getting back out on the mound. However, Chapman managed to work through the six outs without much issue.
The Yankees -- a team supposedly in the midst of a rebuild -- managed something no one thought they could and did so down two games to zero in the series. The Yankees will not have a chance to sit back as they will take on another team that won over 100 games, but New York is feeling extremely confident and performing well at the right time. In the playoffs that's sometime all that matters.
The Yankees will take on the Astros in Houston on Friday at 8 p.m. in Game 1 of the ALCS.