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New York Yankees third baseman Todd Frazier dedicated the team’s Game 5 ALDS win over the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday to manager Joe Girardi.
Girardi came under fire for a non-challenge in Game 2 of the series that swung the momentum in Cleveland’s favor, but Frazier said he and the other players rallied around their manager, according to ESPN.com: “This one is for Joe. He got a lot of criticism after that second game, and we talked a lot, me and him. I couldn’t be happier for him. I couldn’t be happier for him.”
In Game 2, Indians outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall was given first base after the home-plate umpire determined he was hit by a pitch.
Replays appeared to show the pitch hitting the knob of his bat, however, which should have resulted in a strikeout and the end of the inning since Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez caught the foul tip.
Instead, Girardi decided against challenging, Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor hit a grand slam, and the entire complexion of the game changed.
Cleveland went on to win in extra innings and take a commanding 2-0 series lead, but the Yankees rallied to win three in a row, including a 5-2 triumph on the road in Wednesday’s Game 5.
After earning the chance to face the Houston Astros in the ALCS, Girardi discussed the emotional roller coaster he has ridden in recent days:
“The difference between [Game 2] and today is about as big as you can get. I don’t know at any point in my career that I felt worse than I did on Friday. As I expressed many times, it’s the hurt for the other people that is so hard for me. So the emotions, I mean, these guys had my back and they fought and fought. And again, they beat a really, really good team.”
Wednesday’s win ensured that Girardi was off the hook, and it kept the Yankees’ pursuit of their 28th World Series championship alive.
New York will make its first ALCS appearance since 2012, and it will have an opportunity to reach the World Series for the first time since 2009 when it beat the Philadelphia Phillies.