Clearly, the Yankees and Indians were not into the whole brevity thing Wednesday night. Game 2 of the American League Wild Card Series lasted an eternity, mercifully coming to an end shortly after 1 AM Thursday morning. First pitch—scheduled for 7 PM ET—was delayed nearly an hour due to an oncoming storm that didn’t hit until 20 minutes after play had already begun, leading to another half-hour pause (to say MLB handled the situation poorly would be an understatement).
Inclement weather aside, the game itself moved at a snail’s pace, dragging on for four hours and 50 minutes, making it the longest nine-inning game in MLB history. Notice I did not say “playoff” history. Wednesday’s marathon at Progressive Field was the longest nine-inning game ever played, topping a four-hour, 45-minute epic between the Red Sox and Yankees (who else?) staged at Fenway Park on August 18, 2006.
Much like that offering, which featured a whopping 25 runs, Game 2 in Cleveland was a slugfest from start to finish with Wednesday’s combatants accounting for 19 runs with 10 of the contest’s 18 hits going for extra bases (three homers, six doubles and a triple). Twelve players took the mound (five for New York, seven for Cleveland), combining for an exhausting 388 pitches. Twenty-four strikeouts were tallied along with 21 walks, one hit batsman and two errors (the Indians were responsible for both).
Tribe closer Brad Hand, who paced MLB with a league-leading 16 saves during the regular season, failed to protect a one-run, ninth-inning advantage, coughing up a 9-8 Indians lead on Gary Sanchez's sac fly to center with DJ LeMahieu adding a go-ahead base knock later in the frame. Delino DeShields booted LeMahieu’s two-out single, allowing Gio Urshela (who launched a 432-foot blast innings earlier) to score what proved to be the series-clinching run in New York’s 10-9 victory.
With Cleveland eliminated (shame on Mark Teixeira for doubting his former team), New York will have a few days to prepare for its next opponent, top-seeded Tampa Bay, in the ALDS. The Yankees did not fare well against the Rays during the regular season, winning just twice in 10 tries with Tampa Bay outscoring the Bombers by a convincing 47-34 margin.