Yankees back for Game 5 after Cole saves their ALDS in 4-2 win over Guardians

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New York Yankees 4, Cleveland Guardians 2

CLEVELAND — Gerrit Cole saved the Yankees from disaster. They’re going to the Bronx and still want to win a championship.

Cole pitched seven scoreless innings and Harrison Bader hit a two-run homer as the Yankees rescued their season and forced a critical fifth game in the AL Division Series with a 4-2 victory over the Cleveland Guardians on Sunday night.

“This series certainly isn’t over, and we have bigger goals,” Cole said. “But I’m definitely having the time of my life and I love it and I can’t wait to keep going.”

Cole, who is worth $324 million to New York, let the Guardians score two runs and struck out eight batters while beating them for the second time in six days. Cole didn’t win, but he kept Cleveland’s batters from getting on base and from hitting in the right way.

Bader hit his third home run in the best-of-five series. He did it in the second inning against Cal Quantrill, who had never lost at Progressive Field in 44 games.

After losing Game 3 on Saturday, when the Yankees’ bullpen had the worst meltdown in the long history of the team in the playoffs, New York got back on track and is now going home.

On Monday night at Yankee Stadium, Game 5 will decide the winner to play the AL Championship Series against the Houston Astros.

Josh Naylor hit a home run for the Guardians, who are trying to end the longest World Series drought in Major League Baseball in their first year as a new team. Since 1948, Cleveland hasn’t won it all.

Cleveland teams have been hurt in the playoffs before, so they are 1-7 in games where the winner gets everything.

“If you had told me in March that we had just signed up to play Game 5 in New York to get to the ALCS, I would have run to New York,” said Terry Francona, the manager of the Guardians. “I’m happy.”

Cole was taken out of the game after throwing 110 pitches. Boone, who faced lots of criticism for his closer choice in Game 3, did not like to put himself in another storm and brought in Clay Holmes to throw the eighth inning.

In the eighth inning, Holmes got rid of Amed Rosario and José Ramrez. Then, Wandy Peralta finished the game to get the save. Peralta worked for the third day in a row and got three batters out with just seven pitches.

“Our guys had that look in their eyes tonight, and it starts with Gerrit,” said first baseman Anthony Rizzo said. “It’s a complete win for us and that’s who we are and that’s the wins we need to have.”

When the Yankees signed Cole to a nine-year deal as a free agent in 2019 after he had spent two years with the Astros, this was the kind of game they had in mind for him to pitch in.

There was no magic this time for the Guardians, who won Game 3 after coming back from a two-run deficit in the ninth inning.

Not only did Cleveland come back against New York’s bullpen on Saturday, but the Guardians also became the first team in 168 games to beat the Yankees in the playoffs after being down by more than two runs.

In the fourth, Naylor’s second career postseason home run and third in 17 at-bats brought the Guardians within 3-2.

The crowd in Cleveland went crazy when Naylor hit a laser into the seats in front of the outfield bullpens. The crowd got even crazier as the player “ran around the bases swinging his arms back and forth like he was rocking a baby.”

Bader’s 429-foot drive over the left fence gave the Yankees a 3-0 lead, giving them not only momentum but also hope that they may level the series after their heartbreaking defeat in Game 3.

As Bader rounded first after his sixth hit in six career at-bats against Quantrill, the New York dugout erupted with cheers and fist pumps. He also hit a home run in Game 1 of Cole’s victory against Quantrill.

The Guardians got one run back in the third, but they missed a chance for more when Ramrez was a little too aggressive on the bases.

With runners on first and second, Ramrez hit a bloop into left field that scored rookie Steven Kwan. Ramrez thought he had a chance to take an extra base, so he ran about halfway to a second before realizing he didn’t. He was thrown out as he ran back to first.

UP NEXT

In Game 2, Taillon’s first relief appearance, he gave up two runs and three hits without getting an out.

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