NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The New York Yankees have lived to play another game, beating the Cleveland Indians in a nail-biter at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx Sunday evening.
The Yankees staved off elimination in their American League Division Series against the Indians with a 1-0 victory, thanks to the arm of Masahiro Tanaka and the bat of Greg Bird.
Bird broke a scoreless tie in the seventh inning when he crushed a home run to right field off of Andrew Miller. The towering blast accounted for all the scoring in the game.
Fans were jubilant at the end of the game – a day after manager Joe Girardi took a lot of heat over a loss Friday night and had some New Yorkers even calling for his job. Yankees fans booed loudly when Girardi’s name was called as the game began.
“Next year if he’s here, I’ll take a year off,” said fan Kevin Regan. “I want Girardi gone.”
Girardi had been full of regret after Friday night, and faced a major backlash from fans who say he should have challenged a pivotal and controversial call in game two against Cleveland.
It all happened in the sixth inning, when batter Lonnie Chisenhall was awarded first base on a ruled hit-by-pitch. Girardi was forced to decide on the challenge within 30 seconds, and decided against it.
Then, 15 seconds later, the network aired a replay that showed the ball hit the base of Chisenhall’s bat. A challenged would have ended the inning on a foul-tip strikeout. Instead, the bases were loaded and shortstop Francisco Lindor launched a Grand Slam.
The Yankees blew a five-run lead and eventually lost in 13 innings.
“I take responsibility for everything,” Girardi said in a Saturday press conference. “I feel horrible about it. Does it change the complexion of the game? Yeah, it sure could have. Do we know that for sure? No. But I’ve always taken responsibilities for losses and I take them hard, too.”
The Indians are now up 2-0 in the best of 5 series.
“The understatement of the year would be there was a lot going on in that game,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. “It was an honor to be a part of that game.”
Loyal fans said the incident is in the past and they are focusing on Game 3.
“I think we have a good chance of winning. I think we even have a good chance of taking to home,” said Yankees fan Alan Tabbanella. “But taking three in a row is going to be tough.”
“I will forgive (Girardi) if we win the series,” said Yankees fan Tom Cooper.