Bugs help Tribe rally to win in 11, take 2-0 lead


• Summary: Helped by a freakish invasion of bombarding bugs that rattled rookie reliever Joba Chamberlain in the eighth inning, the Indians rallied to beat the Yankees 2-1 in 11 innings to take a 2-0 lead in the AL Division Series.

• Goat: Luis Vizcaino came on in the 11th inning, walking two and allowing two hits and the winning run to put the Yankees in an 0-2 series hole.


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• Figure this: Alex Rodriguez went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and is now 4-for-47 with zero RBIs in his last 14 playoff games.

• Quotable: "I don't feel safe at all, though. I mean, it's the Yankees." -- Indians first baseman Ryan Garko

-- ESPN.com news services

Indians 2, Yankees 1 (11 innings)

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Swat! Take that, New York Yankees.

Helped by a freakish invasion of bombarding bugs that rattled rookie reliever Joba Chamberlain in the eighth inning, the Cleveland Indians rallied to beat the Yankees 2-1 in 11 innings Friday night to take a 2-0 lead in the AL Division Series.

Travis Hafner's bases-loaded, RBI single with two outs in the 11th scored Kenny Lofton with the winner.

A Walk-Off Day

The Indians and Red Sox took 2-0 leads in their respective ALDS series on walk-off hits. This is the fifth time in postseason history that there were two walk-off wins on the same day. Here's a look at the last four same-day walk-off winners:


Walk-off winners

Oct. 11, 1972

Detroit defeats Oakland & Cincinnati defeats Pittsburgh

Oct. 11, 1986

New York defeat Houston & California defeats Boston

Oct. 1, 1998

Houston defeats San Diego & Atlanta defeats Chicago

Oct. 18, 2004

Houston defeats St. Louis & Boston defeats New York

Lunacy. Surreal. Hitchcockian. Call it whatever you'd like. October baseball has rarely witnessed something like this.

"I'd never seen anything like it," Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter said. "It's like somebody let them loose ... just when you think you've seen it all."

With bugs sticking to his muscular, sweaty neck, Chamberlain threw a wild pitch in the eighth that gave Cleveland the tying run. Three innings later, the Indians won it.

"They bugged me, but you've got to deal with it," Chamberlain said.

Umpire crew chief Bruce Froemming said he never considered stopping the game.

"It was just a little irritation," he said. "We've had bugs before. I've seen bugs and mosquitoes since I started umpiring. It might not be a perfect scenario.

"Within about 45 minutes, basically they were gone. There was just about a 10-minute period where everybody was lathering up," he said.

By the end of the night, the Indians were swarming Hafner and heading to New York looking for a sweep.

"I don't feel safe at all, though," first baseman Ryan Garko said. "I mean, it's the Yankees."

Lofton, a gnat-like nuisance to the Yankees so far in this series, walked on four pitches to lead off the 11th against Luis Vizcaino. Franklin Gutierrez failed twice to get down a sacrifice before hitting a single.

Casey Blake moved the runners up with a bunt before the Yankees walked Grady Sizemore to load the bases. Rookie Asdrubal Cabrera missed his chance at being a hero by popping up right in front of the plate, but Hafner delivered.

Cleveland's designated hitter lined a single on a 3-2 pitch to right-center -- making Cleveland 2-for-18 with runners in scoring position -- and was mobbed by his teammates as an exhausted crowd of 44,732 towel-waving fans celebrated a win they'll talk about for years to come.

A day after the Indians slugged their way to a 12-3 win, Fausto Carmona and the Yankees' Andy Pettitte put pitching back into the series.

New York finished with just three hits, all off Carmona during his nine spectacular innings. Rafael Perez went two innings for the win.

Game 3 will be Sunday at Yankee Stadium, with Jake Westbrook trying to pitch Cleveland to a sweep against Roger Clemens.

The final four innings were like a low-budget, late-night horror flick. Call it: The Bugs Who Ate The Yankees.

"You could see them when you looked," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "It was like blankets of stuff out there."

Chamberlain, the wildly popular 22-year-old, came in for Pettitte in the seventh with runners at first and second. He struck out pinch-hitter Gutierrez and got Blake on a soft fly to right to keep the Yankees up 1-0.

That's when everyone started buggin' out.

Chamberlain needed to be sprayed with repellant before taking the mound in the eighth as the pesky insects descended upon the ballpark on another muggy fall night. Chamberlain wasn't alone, either, as Alex Rodriguez, Jeter and the rest of the Yankees infielders waved their gloves and caps in front of their faces to keep the little pests off them.

Chamberlain walked Grady Sizemore to open the eighth and threw a wild pitch before asking for another dose of spray. Plate umpire Laz Diaz, who was also under attack, consented and watched as Chamberlain held out his arms as if he was going through an airport security scan as a trainer sprayed him down.

"There's not much you can do about it," Torre said. "He was having trouble seeing out there. Unfortunately, it was a bad time."

Cabrera sacrificed before Hafner lined out to first. Then, on a 1-0 pitch to Victor Martinez, Chamberlain uncorked another wild pitch that went all the way to the backstop before caroming directly to catcher Jorge Posada.

With Sizemore barreling down the line, Posada quickly shoveled the ball to a charging Chamberlain, who was upended at the plate by the Indians leadoff man, a former high school football star.

Seconds later, with Chamberlain spitting out the critters like they were sunflower seeds, the giant scoreboard flashed: Bug off Yankees!

The pests have visited before, usually earlier in the summer.

They're called midges. They're scientific name is Chironomus plumosus (Linnaeus) or Chironomus attenuatus Walker.

The Yankees -- and their hardcore fans -- will forever call them something much less polite.

The bizarre circumstances were somehow fitting for the Indians, who had their season-opening series at Jacobs Field snowed out and played their next home series in Milwaukee.

And while the annoying bugs, who occasionally drop in on the Jake, will be remembered, Rodriguez can't seem to shake his prolonged postseason funk.

A-Rod went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and is now 4-for-47 with zero RBIs in his last 14 playoffs games.

For seven innings, in a white-knuckle game as tight as October can offer, Pettitte masterfully worked his way out of jam after jam.

Pitching in his record-tying 35th postseason game, Pettitte gave the Yankees 6 1/3 shutout innings, using every inch of postseason experience in his 6-foot-5 frame to hang with Carmona and keep the Indians from running the bases like they did in their 12-run, 14-hit rampage in the opener.

Cleveland put a runner in scoring position in the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh innings off Pettitte, who managed to keep them away from the plate. He worked around Sizemore's leadoff triple in the sixth.

After Pettitte walked Lofton on four pitches in the seventh, the left-hander was pulled for Chamberlain, the flame-throwing righty who has become a New York cult hero in less than two months. But before Pettitte left the mound, several of his infielders tapped on the chest with their gloves, their tribute to a job well done.

Carmona, making his playoff debut, was even better.

The 19-game winner allowed one run -- Melky Cabrera's third-inning homer -- and two singles in nine innings. With his sinker dropping and dipping below the Yankees' knees, he kept Cleveland close enough to eventually pull off its 45th come-from-behind win and the Indians' 18th in their final at-bat.

But they got this one with help from some little, flying creatures who came unannounced and just in time.

Game notes

Clemens is 27-8 lifetime against the Indians. ... Scruffier than usual, Indians manager Eric Wedge denied growing a playoff beard. "Just every now and again I decide not to shave," he said, smiling. "Nothing more than that."