Shane Bieber had no rebuttal.
The judge smashed a decisive two-run homer on Bieber’s fourth pitch, Cole struck out 13 in his New York playoff debut and the Yankees opened their AL wildcard streak with a resounding 12-3 win over the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday.
Just miles from where President Donald Trump and campaign opponent Joe Biden made their case to the nation in their presidential debate, the Yankees faced off against Bieber, who was baseball’s top pitcher during the season. regular condensed, but ineffective in his playoff debut.
The judge and the rest of the New York hitters hadn’t faced Bieber in 2020, but they were well prepared and took meaty cuts against the 25-year-old ace, who dropped the season highs in points (seven ) and hits (nine). over 4 2/3 innings – his shortest stint since June 9 last season against the Yankees.
“The first run didn’t go as planned,” Bieber said. “I would have liked to be with my speed stuff in the zone and challenge these guys a little more. I forced myself into bad situations and bad accounts on top of not getting my best stuff and making mistakes.
“No excuse. It was not good. ”
The top three streak continues on Wednesday night with Carlos Carrasco trying to save Cleveland’s season against Masahiro Tanaka.
When Bieber’s final pitch echoed loudly over the empty left-field bleachers on a two-run homer by Gleyber Torres in the fifth, the Yankees were up 7-2 and delivered a loud postseason message. to the rest of baseball: Don’t forget.
“We got quite a few points,” said Brett Gardner, who had a two-run homer in seventh and led in three. “I don’t think you ever expected that against a pitcher of Shane Bieber’s caliber.
After abandoning the Torres circuit, Bieber handed the ball over to interim Indian manager Sandy Alomar Jr. and slowly walked towards the Cleveland dugout, apparently carrying all of the city’s hopes for a long run with him. The Indians have lost seven straight playoff games.
Banking on an early lead on the Judge Tour, Cole showed why the Yankees paid him $ 324 million in the offseason. The right-hander gave up two runs – including Josh Naylor’s homerun – and six goalless hits in seven innings.
Naylor, who came from San Diego on the deadline, got 4 for 4 and became the first player with three more hits in his postseason debut.
Cole’s strikeouts were the second by a New York pitcher in postseason history. Roger Clemens deployed 15 in Game 4 of the ALCS 2000. Cole also became the first pitcher to drop at least 12 in three postseason games.
“We had to set the tone for the show,” Cole said. “I’m obviously very grateful and honored to be able to take the ball and be in this position. Being able to deliver is really good. ”
Giancarlo Stanton added a solo shot in the ninth for the Yankees, who didn’t even have to warm up their top relievers – keeping Aroldis Chapman, Zack Britton and Adam Ottavino fresh for Game 2.
The judge’s first home run since his removal from the injured list on September 16 – and Bieber’s first home permit this season – gave the Yankees a stunning 2-0 lead.
“We had a big, long batting meeting about all of us sticking to the same plan and just trying to work counts, get some pitches to drive and I think in the together we did it, ”Judge said. “That’s when this team is dangerous, when we go out there and we can just fight at bat.
“All the mistakes that are thrown up there, we hammer them. ”
AL batting champion DJ LeMahieu started off with a single before Judge, who missed 29 games with a strained calf, blew Bieber’s first pitch, a fastball in the middle of the field, beyond. from the wall to the center right.
It was just the shot in the arm the Yankees were looking for after going 11-18 on the road this season and dropping six of eight in the home stretch.
Unlike the previous four postseason clashes between the Indians and the Yankees since 1997, this one, played amid a pandemic that threatened to wipe out the entire season, was different in many ways.
There was virtually no buzz in the downtown area, parts of which were cordoned off due to the debate taking place at the nearby Case Western Reserve campus. Progressive Field was almost completely empty, and a cold front caused the playing temperature to drop to 61 degrees, which feels like falling.
There were a few midges, those annoying flying insects that took over New York reliever Joba Chamberlain in the 2007 playoffs.
This time, however, it’s the Yankees who are causing all the chaos.
“Our season,” Gardner said, “started today. ”
According to the MLB, Cole became the AL’s first pitcher with 13 strikeouts and no walks in a postseason start. … Naylor is the fifth player to go 4 for 4 or better in his playoff debut, joining AJ Pierzynski (2002), Johnny Damon (2001), Mel Ott (1933) and Frankie Frisch (1921).
MLB eased restrictions on COVID-19 and allowed family members of players to attend the game.
Boone said nearly half of New York’s players had loved ones on the trip and believes their presence may have a positive effect.
Cole spent time with his 3 month old son “between naps. It was the first time we had been to baseball as a family ”.
The Indians go through the post-season without their leader.
Manager Terry Francona, who missed 46 games in the regular season due to poor health, has watched the game for a sequel. Indian President Chris Antonetti said Francona continued to recover, but the 61-year-old was “still far from 100%”.
Carrasco’s inspiring comeback after being diagnosed with leukemia last year hits the postseason. He will face Tanaka, who pitched seven shutout innings in the 2017 ALDS Game 3 against Cleveland.