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Sanchez, Hicks jump on Kluber with HRs

Yanks chase ace after 2 2/3 innings; Bird adds blast in 5th
MLB.com @Britt_Ghiroli

CLEVELAND -- If there is a silver lining to be had in the Yankees' heartbreaking 9-8, 13-inning Game 2 loss to the Indians on Friday in the American League Division Series presented by Doosan, it is this: They knocked around ace Corey Kluber. They also proved they could hang with one of the best offenses in baseball.

And perhaps that will be enough for the Yanks to remain confident and retain the sort of indomitable spirit that got them here in the first place.

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CLEVELAND -- If there is a silver lining to be had in the Yankees' heartbreaking 9-8, 13-inning Game 2 loss to the Indians on Friday in the American League Division Series presented by Doosan, it is this: They knocked around ace Corey Kluber. They also proved they could hang with one of the best offenses in baseball.

And perhaps that will be enough for the Yanks to remain confident and retain the sort of indomitable spirit that got them here in the first place.

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Both Gary Sanchez and Aaron Hicks homered off Kluber, a leading AL Cy Young Award candidate, chasing the Tribe's starter from the game after just 2 2/3 innings to mark his shortest outing since May 9, 2016, against the Astros.

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The Yankees will have their backs against the wall in a win-or-go-home Game 3 on Sunday back at Yankee Stadium. And maybe these are moments they can lean on.

"We were out there giving it everything we had," said Sanchez, who got the scoring started with a two-run first-inning homer. "We were not swinging at bad pitches. We were swinging at good pitches to hit. We had good results doing that tonight."

Sanchez, who homered on Kluber's 15th pitch, sent the ball out to center field with an exit velocity of 103.6 mph, a launch angle of 23 degrees and a projected distance of 406 feet, according to Statcast™. Kluber needed 38 pitches to get out of the first inning.

While Sanchez's blast gave New York its first lead of the series, the Yanks rallied back after Cleveland answered with three runs to take the lead. Starlin Castro collected the first of three consecutive two-out hits in the third, lacing an RBI single up the middle to tie the game at 3. Greg Bird followed with another hit before Hicks clobbered a curveball for a towering blast to make it 6-3 and end Kluber's night. The righty tied a season high by allowing six earned runs on seven hits.

But in the end, the Yankees' offense had nothing to show for its efforts as the Indians' late heroics erased all of the runs they produced off Kluber.

"Yeah, it's tough any way you cut it," said Bird, who hit a two-run homer off Mike Clevinger in the fifth inning. "We really have to bounce back."

Brittany Ghiroli has worked for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.

 

New York Yankees, Greg Bird, Aaron Hicks, Gary Sanchez