In Game 3 of the ALDS, the Yankees edged the Indians by a score of 1-0 on Sunday night in the Bronx (box score) and in doing so extended their playoff lives. The Indians still lead the best-of-five series two games to one. 

Here's what you need to know about what was one of the most taut games of the postseason thus far ... 

Greg Bird's clutch homer was the difference

Indians relief ace Andrew Miller is of course one of the most feared arms in baseball. Thanks in part to his excellent fastball and generational slider, he's especially tough on left-handed hitters. He's given up exactly five home runs to left-handed hitters since the start of the 2015 season. 

In the bottom of the seventh, though, Greg Bird did this ... 

That's 107 mph off the bat, and that's a series-altering dinger. Bird's 2017 has been greatly compromised by injury, and in fact the Yankees expected him to miss the remainder of the 2017 season after undergoing ankle surgery. Bird worked his way back, though, and showed good power upon his return. Consider what you see above to be the biggest homer any Yankee has hit this year. 

Carlos Carrasco's dominant 2017 continued

Among Cleveland starting pitchers, Corey Kluber has understandably gotten most of the bandwidth this season, but Carrasco's been a horse in his own right in 2017. In the past, Carrasco's dealt with a number of arm problems, and of course last year he missed the entire playoffs because of a fractured pitching hand. This season, though, he got to 200 innings for the first time in his career, and along the way he pitched to a 3.29 ERA (139 ERA+) with no unearned runs allowed. He also struck out 28.3 percent of opposing batters. 

Speaking of pitching well in 2017, here's what Carrasco did in his postseason debut on Sunday night ... 

Carlos Carrasco
NYM • SP • 59
vs. NYY, ALDS Game 3
IP5 2/3
H3
R0
SO7
BB3
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He exited with the bases loaded and two outs, but Andrew Miller induced a harmless pop-up out of Starlin Castro. Carrasco was facing a tough lineup build to succeed in Yankee Stadium, and he gave the Tribe the zeroes they needed. 

But Masahiro Tanaka was even better 

In his final start of the regular season, Tanaka responded to extra rest by twirling seven shutout innings against the Blue Jays and striking out a career-best 15 batters. He followed that up with a most timely gem against the defending AL champs on Sunday night ... 

headshot-image
Masahiro Tanaka
SP •
vs. CLE, ALDS Game 3
IP7
H3
R0
SO7
BB1

And that brings us to this defiance of recent history ... 

Also of note: Tanaka in Game 3 recorded an impressive 20 swings and misses. 

Was this Tanaka's final start as a Yankee? He has an opt-out this offseason, and it's possible he'll use it (yes, he mostly struggled in 2017, but the inflation rates for free agent starting pitchers cannot be ignored). If the Yankees rally and win this series, we'll see more Tanaka in pinstripes, but if that isn't the case then the splitter specialist said goodbye to the Bronx in a style that typified his greatest moments. 

Jose Ramirez is struggling

The Indians' infielder is going to wind up finishing pretty high in the AL MVP vote, and that's with good reason: this season he put up a 145 OPS+ in 152 games while playing good defense and adding value on the bases. What's also striking is that Ramirez managed to tally an MLB-leading 56 doubles and 29 homers while striking out just 69 times. These days such power in tandem with contact skills is pretty rare. 

Well, the ALDS has seen trends go in the wrong direction for Ramirez. After Game 3, he's now 2 for 13 with seven strikeouts and one walk. The lone hits have been two singles. Suffice it to say, the Indians are hoping one of their best hitters gets going on Monday. 

Gary Sanchez came up big with the gove

A potential turning point went down in the road half of the fourth. For the Tribe Jason Kipnis cracked a one-out triple that Aaron Judge couldn't snare (and that Aaron Hicks appeared to be not backing up). Fortunately for the Yankees, Masahiro Tanaka had his swing-and-miss stuff working on Sunday night. The thing about a guy who leans so heavily on a splitter-slider-sinker trio is that you need a catcher who'll go block the ball. That's especially the case with a runner on third in a scoreless playoff game. 

With Kipnis on third, Tanaka went to those putaway offerings, and Sanchez made a nifty block-and-tag on strike three in the dirt to Jose Ramirez. Click here to check it out (it's the first pitch in the sequence). If that gets through, then Ramirez probably makes it to first, and Kipnis probably scores the first run of the game. Instead, Sanchez smothered it (earning him some props from Tanaka). 

Sanchez gets dinged for his defense, but he's good at throwing out runners and his bat more than makes up for any shortcomings behind the plate. In Game 3, though, he showed some blocking skills in a very key spot. 

And speaking of young Yankee sluggers coming up big with the glove ... 

Here's Aaron Judge, with one out and a runner on first, keeping it locked at 0-0 with this robbery of Francisco Lindor ... 

Yep, that would've been a home run. It also probably would've been another pelt for noted ballhawk Zack Hample. Alas and alack ... 

So that was a clutch grab by Judge on multiple levels. 

The Yankees are trying to defy LDS history

As you might expect, the history of teams that go down 0-2 in a best-of-five series isn't especially promising ... 

That info was sent out before Game 3, so the Yankees need just two more wins now to join that select company. Note, however, that just three of those nine teams won Game 5 on the road, and that's what the Yankees are tasked with doing. First, though ... 

Game 4 is on Monday

We'll be back in the Bronx on Monday for Game 4. Luis Severino will go for the Yankees -- recall that he struggled badly in the Wild Card Game against the Twins. As for the Indians, it'll be Josh Tomlin or perhaps Trevor Bauer (probably Tomlin). Either way, the Yankees must win in order to force a deciding Game 5 on Wednesday back in Cleveland.