McCoy: Yankees beat Guardians to force deciding ALDS Game 5

The Cleveland Guardians are going where they preferred not to go — back to New York and baseball’s shrine, Yankee Stadium.

Given the chance to wrap up the American League Division Series on Sunday night, the Guardians were silenced by New York’s Gerrit Cole, the $36 million man.

And he was worth every dollar Sunday night in Progressive Field, saving New York’s season by pitching the Yankees to a 4-2 victory.

That evened the series at 2-2 in the best-of-five, necessitating a fifth and final game, the only division series to go the distance.

The Philadelphia Phillies took out the Atlanta Braves in four games, the San Diego Padres sent the Los Angeles Dodgers home in four games and the Houston Astros swept the Seattle Mariners in three games.

The Yankees jumped on Cleveland starter Cal Quantrill, owner of a $2.5 million contract, for three early runs and made them stand up.

They scored a run in the first when leadoff hitter Gleyber Torres singled, stole second and scored on Anthony Rizzo’s single.

They scored two in the second when Josh Donaldson led off with a single and Harrison Bader hit his third home run in the series, this one a 429-foot laser off a dangling cutter.

Cleveland puts its leadoff batter on base in the first three innings, but scored only one run.

Steven Kwan led the first with a single and stole second, but Cole struck out Amed Rosario and Jose Ramirez, then retired Josh Naylor on a pop-up.

Oscar Gonzales opened the second with a single, but with one out Gabriel Aries hit into a double play.

Austin Hedges batted .163 during the season, but he drew his third walk of the series to begin the third. The Guardians cashed in, but it could have had a higher return.

With two outs, Rosario singled and Ramirez followed with a run-scoring single. But he rounded first base too far and was thrown out, ending the inning, and leaving the Guardians down, 3-1

Cleveland drew to within 3-2 in the fourth when Naylor led the inning off with a home run off Cole, the 10th straight game in which Cole gave up at least one home run.

The Yankees retrieved that run in the sixth against relief pitcher Eli Morgan, only the second run in the four games given up by the Guardians bullpen.

Aaron Judge began the inning with an infield single, took third on Rizzo’s bloop double to left field and scored on Giancarlo Stanton’s sacrifice fly to make it 4-2.

Judge’s infield single and Stanton’s sacrifice fly were instrumental in that inning, but the two major Yankee weapons have been deadly silent for the first four games.

Judge is 2 for 15 with a home run, an infield hit, walk and nine strikeouts. Stanton is 1 for 12 with a home run and a sacrifice fly.

Cole pitched seven innings and held Cleveland to two runs, six hits, walked one and struck out eight.

Clay Holmes gave up a one-out walk in the eighth but struck out Rosario and Ramirez.

So the Yankees took a two-run lead into the ninth, just as they did Saturday night in Game 3, only to give up three runs and five hits for a walk-off loss on Gonzalez’s two-run single.

Could the Guardians do it again? They led the 
American League during the season with 29 come-from-behind wins.

But former Cincinnati Reds bullpenner Wandy Peralta made certain there was no magic in Cleveland’s bats on this night. He needed only seven pitches to retire Naylor, Gonzalez and Andres Gimenez to save.

Something had to give in this one.

Cleveland starter Quantrill had not lost a game in his previous 36 starts in Progressive Field and was 11-0 in those games.

Cole was 3-0 this season against the Guardians and was the winning pitcher again Quantrill in Game One of this series.

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