After spending the first nine years of his professional baseball career within the Indians organization, Gio Urshela was designated for assignment by Cleveland on May 4, 2018.
Over two years later, Urshela got his revenge.
Between a go-ahead grand slam at the plate and a game-saving double play at third base, Urshela was instrumental in the Yankees’ 10-9 series-clinching victory over the Indians.
“That was the one of the best games I’ve ever played in my life,” Urshela said.
As the Bombers celebrated at Progressive Field, moving on to face the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League Division Series, Urshela’s former club began to pack its bags for a long offseason.
That’s exactly what Urshela went through back in 2017, when the Yankees eliminated his Indians in the ALDS. This time, his contributions were instrumental in a Bombers victory.
“Gio was probably the star of the game, amongst the many big time performances,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said after the four hour and 50 minute marathon, the longest nine-inning game in Major League Baseball history.
Down three runs in the fourth inning, the Bombers loaded the bases, chasing right-hander Carlos Carrasco from the game in favor of lights-out reliever James Karinchak. That’s when Urshela stepped up to the plate.
New York’s rising star pounced on a full-count offering, sending a Karinchak fastball 432 feet and over the wall in left-center field. It was the first postseason grand slam by a Yankees third baseman in franchise history.
[I was] trying to get a pitch to hit,” Urshela said. “It went to a three-two count. Trying to put the ball in play, capitalize on anything in there. Thank God I got the homer.”
Urshela knew it was gone as soon as it left his bat, emphatically flipping his bat and