CLEVELAND (CBSNewYork) — The Yankees are wide awake, and wielding some serious lumber.
Since losing the opener of the AL Division Series on Thursday, all they heard was how difficult it would be to even things against Indians ace Corey Kluber in Game 2.
They now appear poised to climb back into the series.
Thanks to three home runs, the Yankees led the Indians 8-3 through five innings.
The Bombers jumped out quickly in the first on a two-run shot by Gary Sanchez. Following a four-pitch walk to Aaron Judge, Sanchez deposited a 3-2 pitch over the center field wall.
Kluber, who went 18-4 with a 2.25 ERA during the regular season, is a co-favorite for the AL Cy Young Award, along with Boston’s Chris Sale. But in addition to plating the two runs, the Yankees forced the veteran right-hander to throw 38 pitches, almost assuring him of an earlier-than-usual exit.
Yankees starter CC Sabathia, however, gave it all back in the bottom half, serving up a two-run single to Carlos Santana.
The Indians took the lead in the second, capitalizing on a throwing error by Yankees third baseman Todd Frazier. Jason Kipnis plated the go-ahead run with a single to left. Cleveland went on to load the bases, but Sabathia got Jose Ramirez to foul to first and struck out pinch-hitter Michael Brantley.
But the resiliency the Yankees showed throughout the regular season came front and center in the third. Starlin Castro delivered a two-out, run-scoring single, and Aaron Hicks followed with a three-run blast to right to end Kluber’s night.
Greg Bird added a towering, two-run shot in the fifth to extend the Bombers’ lead to five.
Along the way, Sabathia settled in, retiring 11 straight Indians heading into the sixth.
Game 3 is on Sunday night at Yankee Stadium.
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