Yankees: Revisiting Brett Gardner’s Greatest At-Bat in 2017 ALDS

Brett Gardner #11 of the New York Yankees (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Brett Gardner #11 of the New York Yankees (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

Up 3-2 in the ninth inning of Game 5 of the 2017 ALDS, Brett Gardner had a Yankees at-bat for the ages.

The 2017 New York Yankees were at the precipice of history — one more timely knock, and they’d all but ensure the completion of a furious 0-2 series comeback against a record-setting Tribe team.

Never fear. As always, Brett Gardner was there.

With Aaron Hicks on second and the Human Red Bull Todd Frazier planted on first, Terry Francona entrusted Cody Allen to escape the ninth with a 3-2 deficit, instead of dipping into the ‘pen for inexperienced lefty Tyler Olson.

For nearly, 10 minutes, Gardner battled to a full count, slicing hard foul after hard foul off into the crowd of tight-as-an-M-on-an-XL-body Cleveland fans. After 12 pitches, he planted one into right field.

Hicks scored from second, with Frazier naturally stopping…until a momentary bobble completely removed all warning sirens in his head. Three decades of instincts kicked in, as the midseason import rushed wildly to home, taking advantage of a century of Cleveland hesitation, and making it a 5-2 game.

With everything taken care of except the finality, Aroldis Chapman caught Austin Jackson looking with a runner on second in the bottom of the inning, sending New York into a frenzy.

A few days prior, the series had essentially been lost in extra innings, marred by Joe Girardi’s non-challenge on a foul tip that swiftly resulted in a Lindor home run that changed any and all tides.

Until the Yankees, imbued with mental fortitude, changed it all back. Gardner’s AB is probably his signature Yankee moment, and brought home quite possibly the biggest insurance runs this team has acquired in the past decade.

Rightfully, New York will always remember this team fondly, with Gardy’s tenacity and Frazier’s wild man rumbling right at the forefront. Couldn’t happen to two more locked-in guys.

No matter how hard we try, Gardner simply cannot be equivalently replaced.

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