playoffs: Cleveland's magical momentum points toward bigger moment

null Baseball CLEVELAND — The celebration touched off when Yan Gomes roped a liner down the third-base line, which sent Austin Jackson barreling for the game-winning run. Teammates split between home plate and second base after a 13-inning instant classic at Progressive Field. The Cleveland Indians erased a five-run deficit for a thrilling 9-8 comeback victory against the New York Yankees in Game 2 of the ALDS on Friday. That gives Cleveland a 2-0 lead in the series and puts New York on the brink of elimination heading into Sunday.  MORE: Three takeaways from Cleveland's Game 2 winTime of game? Five hours, eight minutes. Time of finish? 10:16 p.m. As the minutes and hours piled on, you

knew this was something different, and one moment would break up that wonderful tension. Jackson's steal and Gomes' game-winning single did that, and it spilled into the latest — on the short list of greatest — renditions of "Cleveland Rocks" afterward.  "I'm not good at ranking, but that was—," Indians manager Terry Francona had to stop and contemplate. "That was an honor to be a part of this game. You can see why when I talk about my guys, why I do." Jackson, in the on-field interview afterward, put into words what everybody seems to understand about a Cleveland team that won 102 regular-season games, complete with a 22-game winning streak, after last year's dramatic seven-game World Series loss to the Chicago Cubs."The momentum carried over into this year," Jackson said. "The fight in this team is unreal." FAGAN: Which team faces most pressure to win World Series?Every corner of that clubhouse had a playmaker who made a valuable contribution, whether it's star Francisco Lindor and backup infielder Erik Gonzalez on one side, Gomes and pitcher Josh Tomlin on another, or Jackson and Jason Kipnis. Stars players. Role players. Momentum. Expectations. There was no wild celebration in the locker room. They left it on the field, and they expect to do it again. "We know the momentum is on our side," Gomes said. "Momentum is a big thing, especially in these kinds of games." How big? Jackson believes the Indians had the momentum even when they didn't have it. Corey Kluber was lifted after allowing six runs over 2.2 innings. The Yankees tacked on a third home run on Greg Bird's two-run shot in the fifth inning for a commanding 8-3 lead. CC Sabathia authored one of those sadistic plot twists against his former team that Clevelanders know all too well through five innings. The Indians were supposed to be pushing panic buttons given the nature of five-game series and the potential loss of designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion, who left in the second inning after jamming his ankle into the side of the second-base bag. There's never time for that in a five-game series, and a string of magical moments put the Indians one game away from the ALCS. Those plays always came at the right time. MORE: CC Sabathia could make Hall of Fame, but he's a long shotLike that time Lindor blasted a forever-arcing grand slam off the foul pole in right field in the sixth inning that cut the Yankees' lead to 8-7, which lasted for 11 outs between both sides before the bottom of the eighth inning. "There was a pretty big momentum shift when that happened, no doubt about it," Tomlin said. "You never know in the course of a game when that exact moment can happen, but I knew watching from the bullpen — you see the dugout go crazy, you see the fans go crazy." Or the time Jay Bruce played hero for the second straight night with a game-tying home run in the bottom of the eighth that staged the drama for the ninth inning and beyond. "When you come back from 8-3 and tie it up, it definitely switched on them," Jackson said. "It pumped us up. It got us more locked in, and the crowd was crazy." Maybe it was the time the Indians prevented Todd Frazier from scoring from third in the ninth. Gonzalez's diving stop on an Aaron Judge groundball kept Frazier at third, then Joe Smith froze Gary Sanchez for a strikeout to end the inning. Cody Allen worked out of a jam in the 10th. Gomes threw out Yankees pinch-runner Ronald Torreyes in the 11th inning after Frazier reached on an error. Tomlin worked a scoreless 12th and 13th. "Josh Tomlin came in, I don't know how else to say it," Francona said. "He's got major-league balls." GAME CENTER: Yankees-Indians box score, scoring summaryWho doesn't on this team right now? Jackson drew a leadoff walk in the 13th before stealing second. That set the stage for Gomes, who worked a 10-pitch at-bat on Dellin Betances before ending the suspense once and for all. It was another dramatic Cleveland victory. The names blend together into whatever you want to call it — chemistry, DNA, can't-lose mentality — and one magical moment spawns another. Then another. Then another — until it's woven into another run back to the World Series and a possible gold championship pennant next to the 1948 in the concrete above the bleacher seats in right field.That's the mission that fell one game short last season against the Cubs. That's the mission the Indians seem destined to fulfill if those magical moments continue to reproduce. "We can get production anywhere and everywhere at any point," Allen said. "When you do it enough, when that true belief is there — not that fake stuff guys talk about — we're going to find a way to win." It's not a team dependent on one pitcher being lights out or one or two hitters knocking the ball out of the park. The Indians still boasts a top-to-bottom lineup that came so close to winning the World Series without Encarnacion last season, and Friday the pitching staff picked up Kluber on an off night. That's scary. It puts Cleveland one win away from the next round, and it will forever be remembered as one of the greatest postseason games in Indians history.Lindor, the last one on the interview podium, put the five-hour, eight-minute marathon into perspective. It ended at 10:16 p.m., but it's now something else. It's timeless. "The way everyone battled," Lindor said. "Everyone got together, that was pretty special to watch. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life."

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