CLEVELAND (AP) — The Yankees saved Aroldis Chapman from re-living a postseason nightmare.
On his first visit to Progressive Field since Game 7 of last year’s World Series, Chapman was bailed out by sensational defensive plays from Brett Gardner and Ronald Torreyes in the ninth inning as New York hung on to beat the Cleveland Indians 2-1 on Saturday night and stop a four-game losing streak.
Last November, Chapman (4-2) nearly blew the Cubs’ first World Series title since 1908 when he gave up a game-tying, two-run homer to Rajai Davis in the eighth inning. Chicago went on to win in extra innings but the left-hander’s meltdown — and Davis’ dramatic shot — remain two of the game’s most enduring moments.
Chapman said he didn’t think about that night.
“It was just another game,” Chapman insisted.
It didn’t feel like one.
Chapman allowed a leadoff single in the ninth before Jose Ramirez hit a fly to deep left that the 5-foot-11 Gardner grabbed with a jump on the warning track.
“It’s a ball (6-foot-7, Aaron) Judge probably catches without having to jump. I was fortunate it wasn’t 6 inches higher because it could be a different result in the game,” Gardner said.
As Ramirez’s ball headed to left, some of the Indians were convinced it was gone — and they had gotten Chapman again.
“I’m pretty sure I saw some guys running around in the dugout,” Indians catcher Yan Gomes said.
Edwin Encarnacion followed with a blooper toward right that looked destined to drop before Torreyes raced back and snared with a diving catch before sliding on his belly across the grass.
Chapman then went to a full count on Carlos Santana, who homered in the second inning, before striking him out with his 21st pitch of the inning for his 14th save.
The defensive gems were a nice change for the Yankees, who made three errors in the series opener and had another error, passed ball and two wild pitches on Friday.
Chase Headley homered with one out in the eighth inning off Zach McAllister (1-1) for the Yankees, who have been anything but Bronx Bombers lately.
Headley pulled a 0-1 curveball and his sixth homer barely cleared the wall in right. With top reliever Andrew Miller on the…