Yankees beat down on Cleveland, take 12-3 blowout win in first Wild Card game

MLB: Wild Card-New York Yankees at Cleveland Indians
Sep 29, 2020; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Players in the New York Yankees dugout celebrate after a two-run home run by right fielder Aaron Judge (not pictured) against the Cleveland Indians in the first inning at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees silenced any criticism on the team’s shaky regular season finish with a more than dominant, 12-3 win over the Cleveland Indians Monday night in the first game in a best-of-three wild card playoff round.

The matchup drew high speculation to be a tight, defensive battle as heavyweight starters Gerrit Cole and pitching triple crown winner Shane Bieber were facing off in Cleveland – though the Yankees offense told a different narrative.

After leadoff second baseman and American League batting champion DJ LeMahieu singled, the Yankees wasted no time getting to Bieber as outfielder Aaron Judge sent his first all rise of the postseason soaring  four pitches into the game, giving the Bombers a fast 2-0 lead.

On the other side of the mound, Cole had a strong start to the game after striking out four and allowing only one runner on through his first two innings.

Come the top of the third, home run king and first baseman Luke Voit showed his stuff at the plate by doubling in outfielder Aaron Hicks from first base, pushing the Yankees lead to 3-0 against Bieber and the tribe.

That same inning, Cleveland cut into the Yankees lead as Cole allowed an RBI single to third baseman José Ramírez with runners on the corners, making it a 3-1 ballgame.

Then outfielder Brett Gardner started a little fourth inning rally with an RBI double that was shortly followed by an RBI single from LeMahieu, stretching out the Yankees to 5-1 and Bieber’s pitch count to 87 early on.

Cleveland again narrowed the Yanks lead that same inning after outfielder Josh Naylor solo-homered off Cole, brining the score to 5-2 through four frames. 

The Yankees answered once more with a two run blast from shortstop Gleyber Torres which put the Bombers up 7-2 in the fifth inning, ending Bieber’s night on the mound.

It was too late for Bieber to say sorry after allowing the seven earned runs and nine hits after his 4.2 innings pitched, setting up righty Phil Maton for relief.

Sep 29, 2020; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Shane Bieber (left) and catcher Roberto Perez (55) walk off the field in the first inning against the New York Yankees at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

With runners on second and third, the Yankees struck again in the seventh when third baseman Gio Urshela hit a sac fly to right field off reliever Adam Cimber, following by an RBI single from Torres, pushing the lead to 9-2 and running out a third pitcher Monday night in Cleveland.

Rookie righty Cam Hill then came trying to put out the fire but instead surrendered a two run shot to Gardner, extending the Yankees enormous lead to 11-2.

Meanwhile, Cole continued a playoff performance for the ages, striking out 13 and allowing only the two runs on six hits through an even seven innings pitched. 

He is now the first major leaguer to throw 12 or more K’s in three postseason games.

Sep 29, 2020; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) delivers against the Cleveland Indians in the first inning at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Luis Cessa replaced Cole in the eighth inning, where he put the side down with no issues other than a two out walk to Ramírez.

The Yankees offense wasn’t quite done in the ninth as designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton flung a solo homer to left center off Hill, giving the Bombers a double digit, 12-2 lead.

Lefty Oliver Pérez, the Indians fifth pitcher of the night was then called in to finish the Yankees in the ninth inning.

Cessa allowed a run in the ninth off an RBI single from outfielder Tyler Naquin which scored Naylor from second, but sealed the Yankees 12-3 victory just after.

In addition to the usual suspects of Judge, LeMahieu, and Voit going on an offensive tear, Torres had a four hit night at the plate and Gardner was close behind with three knocks himself, dismissing much fan agnst towards that duo’s less than stellar regular season performances.

Masahiro Tanaka is expected to pitch against Cleveland’s Carlos Carrasco Tuesday night for the elimination game two at 7 p.m. in Ohio.