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Didi gets to Kluber again with solo blast

Including '17 ALDS, Yanks SS hits HRs in 3 of 4 at-bats vs. righty
MLB.com @BryanHoch

CLEVELAND -- Didi Gregorius enjoyed what he called one of the best nights of his career last autumn at Progressive Field, keeping the Yankees' postseason dreams alive by homering twice off Indians ace Corey Kluber in the deciding Game 5 of the American League Division Series.

The Bombers shortstop picked up where he left off on Thursday, belting a fourth-inning Kluber cutter over the center-field wall for a game-tying solo blast in the Yankees' 7-4 win over the Indians.

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CLEVELAND -- Didi Gregorius enjoyed what he called one of the best nights of his career last autumn at Progressive Field, keeping the Yankees' postseason dreams alive by homering twice off Indians ace Corey Kluber in the deciding Game 5 of the American League Division Series.

The Bombers shortstop picked up where he left off on Thursday, belting a fourth-inning Kluber cutter over the center-field wall for a game-tying solo blast in the Yankees' 7-4 win over the Indians.

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"I think everybody just tried to stay up the middle and hit the ball," Gregorius said. "He has to come over the plate at some point, so just try and stay ready to hit, basically. Whatever is in the zone, you have to try to put good wood on it."

Including his performance in ALDS Game 5, when Gregorius hit a solo shot in the first inning and a two-run blast in the third, Gregorius had gone deep in three of his last four at-bats against Kluber after his jack on Thursday.

"It was just a back-door cutter, like we had [thrown] to a couple guys earlier in the game," Kluber said. "It ended up starting where we wanted to finish."

Video: NYY@CLE Gm5: Didi belts two homers in Game 5 of ALDS

The Indians ace lasted just 3 2/3 innings in that ALDS clincher, but Gregorius swore that he did not think about his memorable performance when he walked into Progressive Field on Thursday, marking the Yankees' first visit since that October evening.

"For me, I always think about it day by day, just who I'm facing today," Gregorius said. "I'm not worried about the past. The numbers are going to be there. For me, I'm trying to see what he's going to do with me during the game, and take some pitches.

"He threw a lot of cutters today, which is a little bit different from what we've seen from him. We maintained our good approach and tried to get him over the plate."

Gregorius is riding a seven-game hit streak, during which he has batted .345 (10-for-29).

Brett Gardner also homered off Kluber in Thursday's contest, slugging a game-tying two-run shot in the third inning. It was Gardner's eighth homer of the season -- and third of the road trip. He added another long ball with a solo shot off Indians reliever Tyler Olson in the ninth.

Video: NYY@CLE: Gardner belts 2 home runs in Yanks' win

Six of Gardner's nine homers this season and 12 of his last 17 homers (since June 23, 2017) have either tied the game or given the Yankees the lead.

"We came back attacking one by one, and put up key at-bats and key hits to drive in the runs," Gregorius said. "I think that's part of the game that shows we keep fighting until the last out."

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.

New York Yankees, Didi Gregorius