Yankees beat Guardians to force ALDS Game 5

Yankees beat Guardians to force ALDS Game 5

CLEVELAND (AP) — Gerrit Cole brought the Yankees back from the brink. They’re Bronx bound, still chasing a championship.

Cole gave New York what it needed, seven solid innings and Harrison Bader hit a two-run homer as the Yankees forced a decisive fifth game in the AL Division Series with a 4-2 win over the Cleveland Guardians in Game 4 on Sunday night.

There was no margin for error, no second chances. Cole, who failed in a similar spot last October, had the weight of New York’s season, the one Aaron Judge’s home-run swing made historic, on his shoulders.

He handled it. Like an ace should.

“Preparing for this game, there’s an opportunity to clinch or an opportunity to go home, I didn’t approach the game any different,” Cole said. “I just went out there and did my job.”

New York’s $324 million man, Cole allowed two runs and struck out eight in beating the Guardians for the second time in six days. He didn’t dominate, but Cole kept Cleveland’s hitters off base and off balance.

Bader homered for the third time in the best-of-five series, connecting in the second inning off Cal Quantrill, who came in unbeaten in 44 games at Progressive Field.

After blowing Game 3 on Saturday, when the Yankees’ bullpen had its greatest meltdown in the team’s storied postseason history, New York recovered and is headed home for a winner-moves-on game.

New York Yankees’ Gerrit Cole pitches in the first inning of Game 4 of a baseball AL Division Series against the Cleveland Guardians, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)